Transcript Index
Search This Transcript
Go X

WILSON: What is your full name?

RUBIO: Gwyn Ellen Hyman Rubio.

WILSON: And where and when were you born?

RUBIO: I was born in Macon, Georgia on August the seventh, nineteen forty-nine.

WILSON: Okay. Okay, Gwyn can you tell me something about your family and something about growing up in Georgia?

RUBIO: Well, I grew I was born in Macon, Georgia, but I grew up in Cogdell, Georgia which is not far from Plains, Georgia. South central Georgia.

WILSON: So peanut growing country or is that just because I know--

RUBIO: No, peanuts, you're right, peanuts--not just peanuts, peanuts, 1:00cotton, pecan groves and watermelons. In fact, I grew up in the watermelon capital of the world.

WILSON: Oh, well. Okay.

RUBIO: So, and my dad was a writer and my grandfather owned a hardware store. And so we grew up in a very rural community.

WILSON: Was there anything growing up that led do you think to your joining the Peace Corps? Anything in your family, school?

RUBIO: My father died very young when he was thirty nine of a massive coronary. We were very close. I was thirteen when he died. I remember I guess when Kennedy became president and we were talking 2:00about the Peace Corps. The idea fascinated me. My father and I like I said we were very close and we were talking about the idea of the Peace Corps and he said he thought it was a good idea. He had written a novel called "No Time for Sergeants" which was actually a satire against war. He was so disgusted with the Korean War at the time and he wrote that book, so he was thinking about in terms of Peace Corps and taking things in a different direction, trying new things and that stayed with me from I guess maybe I'm not sure when we had that talk. I remember we were driving around. I was in the car and he was running errands. And he wrote so he didn't have a normal nine to five job, so I hung out with him. So and we but that stayed with me until 3:00my I joined the Peace Corps, but no one else.

WILSON: Nothing in school or anywhere--

RUBIO: Nothing in school. I don't even remember my mother talking about it and my father seemed, I think it was at twelve, and I was almost fourteen when he died. So it was I think solely based on my discussion with him.

WILSON: So where and when did you go to college? Graduated from high school and--

RUBIO: Uh-huh, oh gosh I can't ever remember that. Sixty-seven I think. Graduated from college in seventy-one and--

WILSON: You went to

RUBIO: Costa Rica.

WILSON: No, you went to--

RUBIO: Oh, oh! Florida State University.

WILSON: Florida State University and majored in--.

RUBIO: English there.

WILSON: Okay, did you hear anything about Peace Corps at that point?

RUBIO: Yea, yea because then Vietnam was going on and people were 4:00thinking of the Peace Corps as an alternative to being drafted and fighting in Vietnam. So yes, it was it had become then a topic of conversation.

WILSON: And did you apply to Peace Corps when you were in college?

RUBIO: I applied, I guess before I graduated from college.

WILSON: Was there a Peace Corps recruiter?

RUBIO: There was and I can't even remember--

WILSON: When I think of that recruiter--

RUBIO: Uh-huh, right, right, yea. I don't remember, I don't think I did it that way. My boyfriend, Angel, had joined Peace Corps. He had joined the Peace Corps. I was always thinking about joining and--

WILSON: So you had met in college?

RUBIO: We met at Florida State. He joined the Peace Corps because he 5:00wanted to join the Peace Corps, but he also did not want to fight in Vietnam. We were going to try to wait out the war and so I was going to join, but I had considered other parts of the world that I wanted to go to and but he got sent to Costa Rica. He was in the Peace Corps in Costa Rica six months. And so then I decided I would--then Peace Corps they were very flexible and so I decided I would try to be in Costa Rica. I would try to be near him. That was not where I really, I wanted to go to someplace I felt would be more exotic.

WILSON: Which would be like?

RUBIO: I guess I initially wanted to go to Africa, but I ended up in Costa Rica and loved it and so and went there because of him.

WILSON: So okay, you graduated, he'd already gone. Was he ahead of you 6:00in school?

RUBIO: He was ahead of me. He's older than I am.

WILSON: Okay, so he was ahead of you in school. He was in Costa Rica. So then at that point there was training where? In Costa Rica or in the US?

RUBIO: No, let me think, he trained--.he did some training here. I remember he did. All my training was in Costa Rica. I did no training whatsoever in this country. I trained in San Jose before I went out into Piedras Blancos which is the little village we were in which was near the Panamanian border and the tropical rainforest.

WILSON: So did you end up in the same village that he was in?

RUBIO: I ultimate did because we got married.

WILSON: When you were in--

RUBIO: Uh huh, yea, after I finished, after I finished my training--

WILSON: Oh, okay.

RUBIO: We then got married and then were placed in the same village, which that would be hard to pull that off these days but back then, they allowed for much, so that's what happened.

WILSON: So what was training like?


RUBIO: It was pretty benign really. I mean we mostly I was in Costa Rica at the time, I mean in San Jose at the time excuse me and mostly language classes, Spanish classes--

WILSON: Did you know Spanish beforehand?

RUBIO: No, I mean I had studied Spanish, but to read Spanish poetry and literature, but I could not speak.

WILSON: Angel?

RUBIO: Well, Angel was fluent anyway. Because he's from Cuba originally and Spanish was spoken in the home, so the language was not an issue for him and in some ways that hurt me because he was fluent and we got married and he would do a lot of the speaking for me and that's not good. It held me back and kept me know, becoming as fluent, I would have liked to have grown more.

WILSON: What kind of cultural classes did you have?

RUBIO: Not a lot.

WILSON: Really?

RUBIO: I think you said Spanish classes and then I remember in San 8:00Jose, my husband was in Penas Blancas at the time, they wanted us to get married. They thought it would not be good living together, so we married in Costa Rica after six months. But I do remember all of the volunteers told me and I even think the director and I don't remember his name in Costa Rica turned to me and said "We have not had one woman volunteer make it outside of the capital city."

WILSON: Really?

RUBIO: And he said "You will be divorced and you will be, your marriage won't make it we don't think and you will not we don't think you'll make it and. .


RUBIO: You'll be gone in three to four months."


RUBIO: Because it was tough I guess they thought. We had no running water, no electricity and--

WILSON: And they thought that was hard for women.

RUBIO: They thought, I think so. I mean it was very sexist and they 9:00told me and they told me and I thought it was very kind of unkind and insensitive.

WILSON: Oh yes!

RUBIO: In some ways because I was getting married, I was committed.


RUBIO: And I wanted to do this, I didn't--you know. But they all said and women had not made it. And they had not sent, they had sent very few female volunteers outside of San Jose.

WILSON: But, but--.

RUBIO: Which was odd to me.

WILSON: Yea, well what were was part of that because they thought the roles of women were different, which of course they are.

RUBIO: Right.

WILSON: In Central America and I mean I don't understand why they would've--

RUBIO: I don't know other than they said that every female that they had sent, with the exception of a few, I mean I think maybe one or two females had made it because I knew two who had, but they said that they just had not had I guess a good outcome with female volunteers in the--


WILSON: Now what was your job?

RUBIO: I taught in--

WILSON: And you were in another group after Angel?

RUBIO: After Angel, right.

WILSON: So this group was all teachers or?

RUBIO: Most of them were, the women who were a part of this group were going to be a part of the San Jose Philharmonic Orchestra. That's what they were in Peace Corps to play with the orchestra.

WILSON: I've never heard of that as a job.

RUBIO: That was their job.

WILSON: Okay. And you?

RUBIO: I was one of the few that was going into the campo.

WILSON: To teach.

RUBIO: To teach preschoolers, which is not my training was English, but at that time as us old timers know that Peace Corps was more liberal in 11:00that way. They took a lot of liberal arts, more flexible.

WILSON: So you were a BA generalist with an English degree and they thought you could teach.

RUBIO: R-r-right, and so the Costa Ricans at that time had no idea of pre-school, so kids would flunk first grade and they were you know so they that they were trying to we were Peace Corps was trying to introduce the concept the idea of kindergarten. So that's what I did. I taught in two different kindergartens and set up those two kindergartens.

WILSON: Now what in training did they talk about how to do that?

RUBIO: No, not that I remember. Now my memory could be faulty because--

WILSON: Right, but what you--

RUBIO: This is so long ago--

WILSON: Right, sure, I understand.

RUBIO: Now when I finally moved to the campo to Penas Blancas, yes, I did go to, not training though. It was with their teachers, like big 12:00educational association meetings and things like that, but then they had no concept of kindergarten, so there was no training in that.

WILSON: So, let's go back to your job, what about and I'm intrigued by this partially because of what you're saying about women on making it. What was it like after you got out of San Jose and went to the village? What was it like in terms of living conditions? What kind of a house did you live in?

RUBIO: Well, we lived in a real a really rough little house where the big holes in the floor. We had no cello rosa which means that the walls really didn't touch, didn't meet with the roof. We had the tin 13:00coming right down on us, the tin roof, so it was very, very hot. We had no buffer of the wood.

WILSON: And noisy when it rained.

RUBIO: And noisy when it rained. That was okay. I found that kind of soothing, but the house was quite rough. Now before I got there, my husband did have water installed in the backyard where we could go out and wash pots and pans.

WILSON: So there was a tap or a well?

RUBIO: There was a, I think, I don't know. I think it was from the river because I know when the river dried up--

WILSON: You didn't have water.

RUBIO: Well, yea, the stream, we had no water. And of course we had an outhouse and I think we had a little--gas canister stove. I believe we had that. No refrigeration. I remember we had huge rats that would 14:00crawl on the--

WILSON: Beams.

RUBIO: The beams. Yea. And I remember my broom, every time I would you know, I would use the handle on the broom to try and fend off the rats and every time we would find one and maybe we would put out poison, then I would cut it off--the handle--and by the time, you know it was like I had no broom left, so we had we had, and we were down a country road. It was beautiful. It was quite lovely in the middle of nowhere. We had one pulperia which was a little tienda, a little store. They had a generator where we would go down there to get cold drinks. But there were no, one little grocery store.

WILSON: How many people in the village?

RUBIO: Oh, I don't know.

WILSON: How many houses?

RUBIO: Oh, just not any. I would say maybe three hundred maybe, or four 15:00hundred maybe.

WILSON: So what was hardest to get used to about all of that? The rats? The not having--. I think the issue really was the isolation. And then women, the roles for women were quite different and women were meant to stay at home and take care of the children and do that sort of thing. And there were certain definitely rules set up, things that women weren't allowed to and I think that led to some problems when I was a Peace Corps volunteer because there were some I mean I was breaking many of those rules.


WILSON: What about, did it help that you were married?

RUBIO: That helped.

WILSON: Did that give you a different status than if you had been a single woman?

RUBIO: Oh I definitely, they were right about that. We needed to get married, but then I would make the big mistake of if I for example if Angel and I went to the pulperia.


RUBIO: I would talk to friends of his and that would be misconstrued--

WILSON: Now the pulperia is the--

RUBIO: The little tienda, the little grocery store that was kind of the center of that was the only part of the town. That was the town. So that really wasn't permitted. It was odd because they would permit their own to do that, but somehow I was --it was frowned upon and then I think one time one of Angel's friends with whom he was working in community development came to the house to visit, Angel was not there 17:00and I went out and spoke to him on the porch and that was a no-no. I mean things like that that you just weren't permitted to do. Though they did much of that, but somehow I was being watched very closely and did not go over well.

WILSON: And it wasn't the case that because you were an American woman. You were expected to be different and sort of given honorary male status or something which I think happened I mean happened in Africa for ----------(??).

RUBIO: No, I mean in some ways maybe we were the kooky, crazy gringos. They were some things though that I got I felt like I got judged very harshly about. I remember one night we went this was towards the end of our time. We were like about two years or a year and a half out in the compo and then moved into San Jose to new jobs and the end of 18:00that tour that was a, it was a wreck. I think it was a big Christmas party and the whole town was there and people were dancing and women were dancing with other people, but I danced and I'm not a good dancer, so I thought well, they'd be laughing at, but I danced with some of my husband's friends. Very innocent. And I felt, I felt the hostility. And when we went home that night walking home, got in bed that night and some of the locals came by the house and called me punta which is whore. It was that was what was hard for me. It was really--and threw things. And Costa Ricans are pretty peaceful, sweet people, but there was something. I don't know, I don't know if that had--.but it was no different than what anyone else was doing, so I don't know why. I mean in that same, at the pulperia, this was where the dance was, 19:00I mean there were gentleman there who had their wives and then their mistresses on the other side of the room and everyone knew that, and yet my husband's co-workers would ask me to dance and suddenly I guess I was supposed to say no. I don't know what. It was like one standard for me--it was the oddest thing and yet Angel and I we were we were called the crazy gringos because we would get so bored that we would get on our motor scooter and go down the Pan-Am highway which was a little dirt trail to get to the nearest village that had electricity which was about maybe forty or fifty minutes away so we could see a movie. And we'd do that in the middle of you know the rainy season and they would think we were crazy and they thought I was insane because we would get on that motor scooter and we would go across a swinging bridge that women were scared to just walk across, but we would go 20:00flying I mean and that was all accepted it seem, but maybe that played into it too. I don't know. There were just things that you weren't supposed to do so.

WILSON: What about you know you think about stereotypes of men who I mean is this part of a macho sort of culture thing or that's just really interesting.

RUBIO: It could have been. It could have been. Now Costa Ricans are very polite like in, like we would get into Central America and men would say things to you that were very vulgar, Costa Ricans did not do that and so I don't know other than--and I did not when we moved into the San Jose area, I did not have those same problems maybe because we 21:00were truly way out in the middle of nowhere. It was a different type of society. I don't, I don't--

WILSON: It's still so hard to explain.

RUBIO: It's still hard to explain, but it was, and they loved me too, in some ways they loved me because I would--You know we had this big kind of graduation ceremony for the kindergarteners and we did a play and the mothers I mean these were women who were so poor, and yet they got together and made the little graduation caps. Some would do them out of cardboard, and materials and little outfits and then got together with a place and the place was packed. And they loved me during the ----------(??) and there were a lot of kids, I visited sick children I visited and we did a lot and they loved but then there was this other, this other thing going on which was odd.


WILSON: What about relationships with women? Did you get to know some of the women in the village? That wasn't really possible?

RUBIO: No, no, because they were all, this might have been some of it. One of the woman I got fairly close to was a woman who lived next door and she had never married and she was she was raising her nephew and her father was there. Her name was Victoria. And she was crazy. And she had been ostracized. And she would pick coffee, but she stayed at my house a lot. She came over all the time and no one they called her a witch, they would have nothing to do with her. That might have been some of it--

WILSON: Because you were befriending--

RUBIO: Because I was befriending her and she spent a lot of time at my house and she got hepatitis and I nursed her. It could have been some of that too. I don't know.

WILSON: What was a typical day like? A day when you were going to doing 23:00things with the kindergarteners?

RUBIO: I would--

WILSON: Get up at?

RUBIO: It was early because the classes started early, so I was up-- .either I don't know I can't remember if classes began at eight or nine, but I was up early and--

WILSON: What did you have for breakfast?

RUBIO: Tortillas.

WILSON: Tortillas. You made?

RUBIO: No, no, no. We'd get them from the pulperias. They were wrapped in banana leaves, so we have tortillas for breakfast and maybe they'd have a kind of baloney that we would eat. It was just horrible and you could see the big the lard in it. Oh, it was just even the thought of it today makes me sick. But then I would go to school, spend several hours, I mean half day as it went from you know until noon kindergarten.

WILSON: And then you worked teaching?


RUBIO: Teaching. Yea and doing things with the kids and what not and then I would plan and get home probably around two or three and then the next day I went to another school which was about I'd have to take the bus to get there. It was in Repunta which was about I bet an hour maybe an hour away maybe not that far. So I had two schools in two different villages.

WILSON: And what kinds of things did you do with the kids? I mean you were, were you sort of a model to other teachers?

RUBIO: Oh no, I don't see how I could have been.

WILSON: But there were other folks who were teaching kindergarten?

RUBIO: No, no.

WILSON: You were--

RUBIO: I was the sole kindergarten teacher.

WILSON: You were the kindergarten teacher in two schools.

RUBIO: Right, right, right.

WILSON: And had how many kids?

RUBIO: I'd say sixty.

WILSON: In each school.

RUBIO: No, no, no, no. That's probably an exaggeration, but I don't remember. Now I don't remember. Maybe forty, maybe twenty, twenty. I 25:00just taught the two classes. I did things in Spanish that I remember doing when I was in kindergarten. I mean I had no training for this so and I worked a lot with their numbers and you know and songs and we did plays and did a lot of things using our imaginations and we would I mean typical Costa Rican games. I brought in books of course. They had absolutely no crayons, no paper, none of--

WILSON: So what did you do for supplies?

RUBIO: I bought a lot of them with my own money.

WILSON: You mean in San Jose when you went there.

RUBIO: Uh huh, yea. And then tried to get supplies from other people. Did a lot of things like that that these kids just didn't know they didn't have. So, there were dealt with just a lot of kind of health issues. These children would have these cow worms that would get into 26:00their skin and I'd have to. .

WILSON: Take them out.

RUBIO: Take them out or make arrangements with them to be taken out. I mean I did whatever I could. My Spanish was not that good and it pretty much remained on a know, I could speak well to kindergarteners, but that was about it, but I mean we had we had a lot of fun. And I had some really smart, smart, smart kids. There was a kid in Repunta whose father was, had come from the United States and they were going to relocate and their truck broke down in Repunta and so his name was Donald Weather. And there was another little girl who had whose name--I'll never forget her, they named her Disney over Walt Disney. But it was an interesting, interesting kids. I mean I 27:00had one kid who was so bright that he was doing double digit you know multiplication and stuff like, I mean this kid was really smart, he could do things in his head like I mean he was a genius and in the middle of nowhere. You know he had nothing. Very, very poor family.

WILSON: So then the kids who graduated you talked about the mothers making their outfits and so forth, do you know what I mean some of them I guess would have gone on to first grade while you were there. Do you know what happened to any of them?

RUBIO: I don't know and I have never wanted to know. As I like my memories as they are and I don't want to know if some passes away or died because children died all the time and they would have like funeral processions were they would walk the coffins, the little caskets to the 28:00graveyards but then what they did, all the children would follow and they would hand out popsicles from the pulperia to the children, as you were walking to the graveside. And there was so much of that. I just, I had certain memories and they were all fine when I left and I just really, just, just didn't want to know, never wanted to find out.

WILSON: But in none of your any of your children?

RUBIO: None of my children died. There were children in the, one little child little boy in particular I remember he had I believe it was liver cancer and he was the brother of a student of mine in kindergarten. The child could hold nothing. He could not hold anything down and so the only thing he could hold down were little fruit juices and they 29:00were incredibly expensive for campesinos, so I remember my husband and I got together and bought a lot of the fruit and then went to San Jose to get money together to buy you know fruit juices to take to this child and he did. I mean this child died, but I did not teach him, he was just a brother of a student of mine, but the kids were precious and wonderful. I loved that part of it.

WILSON: What did you do when you came home from school?

RUBIO: Read. Everything I could get my hands on.

WILSON: How did you get, did you bring books? Did you get books? Did you get magazines?

RUBIO: We got books in San Jose. It was the only place we could find books in English and we would haul them back and then read them and then when we went back to San Jose we could take them back in exchange for new, but at the Peace Corps office there.

WILSON: They had a lot of--

RUBIO: Uh huh, right. So that's what I did mostly by kerosene lantern. 30:00I read, read a lot. There was not a lot to do, and then my husband and I of course would get on our motor scooter and take off for San Isidro that was the largest town nearby. And they it was a bigger place with some restaurants and a few hotels if you could call them that. And you know some little movie theatres.

WILSON: Did you get together with other volunteers?

RUBIO: We did some, but there were not many volunteers in our area. There were very few in fact we were pretty well isolated. We did I know people traveling on the Pan-Am highway and I don't know how this happened. We had tourists from Denmark--

WILSON: Show up?

RUBIO: Show up at our house or I don't know how that happened. Maybe we saw them in San Isidro and then brought them. I don't remember, 31:00but I just remember them showing up, so that maybe led to some of it because they were guys. I mean no telling what fed into all that, so some of that. But I do remember that and I remember we befriended a gentleman from the United States who was originally again from he was Danish and his wife was Danish. He would have been a builder and he was an alcoholic and they took away his license because he was drinking on the job. He got fed up and moved to Costa Rica. He was in his I'd say maybe late forties and was a wonderful builder and they had bought hundreds of acres, not too far from were we lived. It was pretty far and--

WILSON: Because at that point Americans were starting to--

RUBIO: Come in.

WILSON: Buy land.

RUBIO: Right, right and come in.


WILSON: And retire in Costa Rica right?

RUBIO: And he had he was he and his wife and they had never had children. They adopted three Costa Rican boys and he built this gorgeous house in the mountains, but I mean with a generator and he became an expert in orchards. And he had waterfalls and he would had his own hybrids all up and down the waterfall and these precious children who boys they idolized him. And they would walk the way he walked, and dress the way he--so we had friends like that, but very few Peace Corps. We had some Peace Corps volunteers as friends who would come from San Jose to visit or from other little towns maybe--

WILSON: Did you travel around Costa Rica?

RUBIO: Oh yea, we did do that and visited with volunteers.

WILSON: So where, where did you all go?

RUBIO: I'd say all over.

WILSON: So like you went up to the Cloud Forest--

RUBIO: Oh yea, we went--

WILSON: You went to the Atlantic coast--

RUBIO: Absolutely. Puntarenas which wasn't the greatest place to go, 33:00but yea, we went all over.

WILSON: Because it's a beautiful country.

RUBIO: Yea, Costa Rica is beautiful, so we went to both coasts and traveled pretty extensively.

WILSON: Outside of Costa Rica too?

RUBIO: Oh yes during our one of our vacations. We you know have brought the money for you to go. We went as far south as La Paz, Bolivia.

WILSON: Oh really?

RUBIO: Yea and then--

WILSON: How did you travel? By?

RUBIO: Mostly, well we did some flying, bus train I think. Had a wonderful, wonderful, wonderful time. So and then on the way back of course then we went through Central America and Guatemala. I think 34:00we skipped El Salvador and Nicaragua, but Guatemala and ----------(??) Mexico.

WILSON: So did a lot.

RUBIO: Mmhmm.

WILSON: What were your, well you've already talked about this, I mean my question is what were your interactions with host country nationals like? Do you want to say anything more about that? I mean what about the teachers that you were working with or you talked about the woman next door?

RUBIO: Right, right. That was wonderful. Basically I felt like except for that everything was pretty, pretty I thought, pleasant and nice except for this one little thing. I got along well with the teachers. 35:00I got along very well with the mothers of my kindergarteners when they would venture out of the houses and when I could see them and if I would go by there we got along well. I thought things seemed very pleasant and well. I mean there were limitations, but--

WILSON: But you didn't have a, you didn't have specific what the Peace Corps called counterparts in terms of somebody that you were working with or somebody that you were training. Did you train somebody to take your place when you left?

RUBIO: That was the idea, but I never did that. The idea was to keep- -and I guess in that way it was successful because the people wanted that kindergarten.

WILSON: So was there somebody then to replace you when you left?

RUBIO: They were going replace with Costa Ricans, of course.

WILSON: Well that's good.

RUBIO: And I think I did. We spoke about you know, but they were 36:00definitely going to keep those they liked the idea and all that went over real well, but I guess I can't say I had any really close Costa Rican friends other than the kind of Victoria who lived next-door who's kind of not all together in this world. She was a nut.

WILSON: Now you said you went to Costa, I mean, went to San Jose for the last part?

RUBIO: We went to a place called Santana which is outside of San Jose.

WILSON: And what were you doing there?

RUBIO: I was working at an orphanage teaching kindergarten in that orphanage.

WILSON: And Angel was--?

RUBIO: He was still doing community development. He worked for DINADECO so.

WILSON: And so how, how did that happen? They wanted you to transfer or--?

RUBIO: We decided we wanted--.I was getting in the village where we were it was so hot and I was getting a lot of urinary tract infections. 37:00A lot of health problems, so then we moved closer to San Jose. It's called the Meseta Central and it's known as the place of eternal spring because the temperature is really very nice and so we wanted to just to be in a cooler climate, but that got really rough. I got in with the orphanage I got in trouble.

WILSON: Because?

RUBIO: The director of the orphanage I thought I'm pretty sure she was and she did get fired the minute I left. She was black marketing babies, she was pocketing money.

WILSON: You mean essentially selling?

RUBIO: Yea, I'm sure she was.

WILSON: Babies?

RUBIO: And I was working and other Peace Corps volunteers knew it but see you're not allowed to get involved in the politics of the country and I guess I kind of forgot that. These children once again I was 38:00teaching kindergarten to these children, I had that brings back a volunteer named Mae that I became very close to. A Peace Corps volunteer who had been at that orphanage before and then she had relocated somewhere else in Costa Rica and she said she knew what was going on too. People knew the Peace Corps volunteers. These children were hungry. It was lucky if they got day old bread and black beans and the director of the Peace Corps, I mean excuse me the director of the orphanage I noticed she would be brought in platters of roasted chicken. She and her secretary and the chauffeur, the bus driver. I mean it was and these children were hungry. They had lice. They had to keep their heads wrapped up and then you know met lice and they had two bathrooms for all these children. I don't know how many, maybe 39:00hundred--I don't know how many kids there were, but only two bathrooms and she didn't like the bathrooms to get dirty, so she would lock those bathrooms and these kids would defecate in the yard. It was awful, it was just absolutely awful. I have never seen--it was just awful.

WILSON: And so what did you do?

RUBIO: I did something I wasn't--I really didn't realize. I guess I got I didn't consider it political. I just thought she was a horrible person. So somebody asked me to write a report and to detail everything I had seen.

WILSON: Somebody did?

RUBIO: I can't remember. It was someone of an official.

WILSON: Oh, okay. Okay.

RUBIO: And I just didn't think. I was so angry and did that. Wrote it up in Spanish and got ready to turn it in. Then I got caught. I mean then the person who I guess was my Peace Corps but Costa Rican manager, I don't know if you all had that in Africa. We had someone 40:00who worked for the Peace Corps but he was Costa Rican. His name was Eduardo Zuniga and he said "uh uh" because I handed it to him to look at before I turned it in. He said "You can't do this." And I said "Well, why not?" He said "Well, you know this is messing in the affairs the political affairs of the country. You can't do this." And I said "But she's horrible." He says "Oh no, she's a lovely woman." I said "You don't know! I promise you, this is horrible! You don't know what's going on!" He says "You can't do this." And meanwhile when she thought I was disgruntled, she was trying to buy me off. She was sending me roses almost every other day, I'd get a dozen roses. Now these kids didn't have enough to eat and I knew that, I mean it was just disgusting the whole bit. And we were coming at that point to the end of our tour and we left and within one month, Eduardo Zuniga who told me she was a lovely woman, the whole thing, I mean this woman was--.


WILSON: So, so she was fired? I mean so do you think--

RUBIO: Oh no, she was exposed and it was in all the papers and everything and I mean I know he held on to what I but she I mean I was, I was you know vindicated in many ways and he wrote me, said you were right Gwyn, I'm sorry.

WILSON: But he didn't, he didn't use your report. It wasn't he who?

RUBIO: I don't think so because he was furious with me for having written it to begin with and held it back after I spent like you know a long time on it, so no, within a month that whole month and they closed the whole orphanage down I do know that and I remember, I mean this is so I mean if I had I remember people were flying in from the United States and just taking children out. I remember very clearly a gentleman came, flew in on his own private jet, he was a big banker out of Miami and I have mixed feelings about this now and he was taking 42:00a newborn. There was something wrong with this child, even I knew the eyes didn't track. I mean there was something you could tell there was something wrong with this child. He was going take this newborn out and I said do you have any, do you know anything about this child? This baby you know you need to know about this child. There's something not right about this child. This child is sick and he said he said no, I don't know but I'm taking this baby.

WILSON: Was he taking the baby to adopt it?

RUBIO: Yea. Yea, I assumed that I don't I don't this is how you so then he started watching the child and it was so obvious then that there was something wrong with this child. Which is fine if he wanted it but he needed to know before he ----------(??), in the end he said "Well I want some other children. What other ones can I have?". And at about that time Costa Rica is a wonderful mix you would have the blonde hair and the brown eyes and the dark hair and the blue eyes, the strong 43:00Indian influence is not there which makes it kind of more boring than the rest of--South America is so interesting because of the heavy okay Indian influence--but anyway so he saw a little blonde haired a little brown-eyed boy that I had been teaching and he said, "I'm going to take this one" how do you just do it?

WILSON: How do you just take a child?

RUBIO: He said "I'm going to take this one and I've got my and I've got my plane ready and I'll just arrange with the director, I'll take this one" and then I said but he's got a sister, I teach his sister you can't separate these babies they have each other, this is all they have. He said, "Okay, I'll take the sister too." And he took both of those children within a few days they were gone. That's weird you know.


RUBIO: Uh huh, weird. So then you sit and think well they were being 44:00taken to a better place if he indeed was a decent human being, I mean, if you're not going through the proper channels or the paperwork or anything you don't know who is taking those children and that was what was upsetting me.

WILSON: And there weren't laws or he would be evading laws that would have been in Costa Rica at that point for adoption. Of course there's, there's been a lot that has happened since, right? In terms of trying to regulate adoption.

RUBIO: Yeah, but see--yeah and then --I mean the directora, and the directora of the orphanage and her secretary and that sleazy chauffeur, I mean they were living very well, and they eating very well and they were dressed very well and that money was not being pumped into the orphanage. And there were American volunteers who had retired there at the time and they would volunteer to work with the children at the orphanage and they were appalled. They, I mean it was so obvious that 45:00something ----------(??) was not kosher, there were things not. . So anyway that was the latter half of my time in Costa Rica.

WILSON: So are there other memorable stories that when you think back to Costa Rica if you're if you're you know telling stories about your time there, what are other things, whether it was on your travels or working with people or what are stories that you tell?

RUBIO: Okay. I don't usually tell my orphanage story. Uh but I tell a lot about going to various Costa Rica, especially in Santana whom I befriended, having big parties and wonderful meals and uh getting 46:00together with them and partying. Those are wonderful memories of that. My host family with whom I lived while I was in training they were lovely to me uh, Angel had also lived with them and then I stayed with them while I was having my training in San Jose. I became very close to Don Eduardo Zuniga, I loved him, he was the gentleman who kind of would supervise us. I became--

[Tape one, side a ends; tape one, side b begins.]

WILSON: So you were talking about your host family and friends.

RUBIO: They were very, very kind, very generous and I think the thing that I remember about the Costa Ricans was just how incredibly gentle they are really as a people. They have no military, so all of their money what they do have at the time, this was many years ago, went 47:00into education and into healthcare. And so you could see there were no guns, like in Guatemala there are machine gun on every corner. Costa Rican police would be carrying you know watering cans.

[Pause in recording.]

WILSON: Okay you were talking about Costa Rica not having guns and gentle society.

RUBIO: And yeah we would just kind of joke around that most of the policeman carried like little watering to water the plants, they'd come out of their little police stations and they'd be watering flowers with their watering buckets. What do you call those things? Water--watering cans. But not doing--you know--with no guns. That way they are very gentle, love kids, spoil their kids, wonderful to their children and very, very generous. This is one story that that--the woman who lived next door to me in Penas Blancas, I bet she had maybe twelve children. They were very, very poor and her kids were over at my house all 48:00the time. I had a lot of toys that my mother would send me and so my house was kind of open to the to the country roads, the kids would come over and play. And to say thank you, and she didn't have to do this and I would get Christmas presents for the children, she went out one Christmas, killed a hen and fixed it for us and I know these children were hungry and sent it over to us. That sort of thing, I mean in that way very proud, but very generous. And--I do remember before my husband and I married when I was in training in Costa Rica, I had just been there a few months and I decided I wanted to visit him and I got- 49:00-I left my host family a message that said I am going to Penas Blancas, now this was like four hours, four or five hours away.

WILSON: And you hadn't been there before?

RUBIO: Yeah, I had been there with him. But I never had managed that and I managed to find my way and to get there but I had to hire a taxi. There were no--to get to the village where my husband was and I got there and I didn't realize that I didn't have the money to cover the--to pay the taxi and I couldn't exactly remember where my, our my husband's little house was. And I panicked and got really scared and then the taxi driver said it's okay, we'll work it out. There was you know--it was you know and I went to the pulperia. It was dark, it had grown dark. I said "Where does Angel Rubio live?" and then we 50:00went there and he was thank heavens he was there and I paid, but he was cool. I mean I think he thought we would work it out and it would be okay and so in that way just incredible. And I also remember that you would you would you would bargain, I wish people would do that in this country, with honor. You would pull out a mustache hair and if you would shake on something you would pull out a mustache hair and you would exchange mustache hairs and that was you were giving your word of honor. And among the campesinos, that meant something and you could count on that, if you agreed to it that meant something and there was no cheating, this was something you could count on. That sort of thing I have real fond memories of that and really Costa Ricans loved to dance, they love to party and they're great dancers and have great music. And I just remember the generosity of being invited--we 51:00were included in many of these parties and lots of lots of tamales at Christmas, wonderful tamales at Christmas. Costa Ricans are not great cooks, the food is pretty bland and awful, but they make wonderful tamales that they cook over in big iron pots outside and steam them and wrap them in banana leaves, well no corn, corn husks and I think they use banana leaves in some way with them, I'm not sure. But they were delicious, just wonderful tamales and great black beans and great tortillas. I remember coming in from driving over the Pan-Am highway to get from Penas Blancas to San Jose, no restaurants along the way but we would stop often if we would take a bus, we would stop at a 52:00this little campesino house in the mountains and we would get out and a woman would serve everyone tortillas with one time when we ate there I think it was either cauliflower or broccoli and scrambled eggs, all scrambled together and wrapped in a tortilla with strong black coffee and we had got up at maybe five in the morning and it was cold in the mountains and to eat that--I remember it was probably the best tortilla--just that kind of level of generosity that they were pretty, pretty decent in that way. And there were a lot now that I'm thinking about, I guess I have focused in on some of the less positive things but there were a lot of wonderful things too that --

WILSON: Well, and you obviously made it even though they said that women didn't.

RUBIO: Yeah, I was I was told I would not make it, I would be gone 53:00within four months.

WILSON: So what do you think allowed you to make it?

RUBIO: I think I liked it. I think there enough positive there, I had enough connections with people, I'm also kind of a stubborn person but I think I liked it enough--I always thought when we were out in the campo and it was tough, I always thought though to an American, a Peace Corps volunteer, a young person, it was like camping out and I would always look and say but these people are living here, this is their way of life. And I do think that maybe some of my problems maybe I should have watched and been a little more culturally sensitive to certain things and maybe not just opened our doors to travelers coming 54:00through, Europeans, or whatnot I mean I wasn't thinking in those like that, maybe that was some of the problem. I wore blue jeans, that was unheard of, women wore dresses and--

WILSON: But again you didn't get training in that?

RUBIO: I did not, I did not.

WILSON: What was culturally appropriate to wear or what was culturally appropriate in terms of how women acted or whatever.

RUBIO: No, I didn't I really didn't--and maybe that was okay because most of the women who were in training with me were playing with were playing with the San Jose Orchestra. In San Jose that was one thing but in the middle of nowhere in a little village, I'm sure that some of it was my thought too and then we were just you know--

WILSON: But generally speaking Peace Corps has had a lot of cultural training so that's. .


RUBIO: Right, so don't you think that is odd?

WILSON: Yeah, I think that is strange.

RUBIO: Everything was done fairly bizarrely the way, I mean when I talk to other Peace Corps volunteers, my time spent in training or the little training I had we got language, it was Spanish lessons, that was the training I got. And it was only just--I can't even remember maybe the tail end of August, and then by December the language training was over with and that's about all the training I got.

WILSON: Well, did you learn some culture though from staying with the host family? But of course that is in San Jose again.

RUBIO: That's in San Jose and it was a whole different mindset and I thought--yeah, I did of course and I don't even know if I had been very much aware of all of that. I don't know if I would have worn frilly little dresses everyday or would have stayed behind inside. I'm sure 56:00I would have gone to the pulperia by myself and gotten tortillas. I mean I don't know if I would have followed everything anyway, I'm sure I wouldn't have and so. And then I do remember, I know somewhat what might have played into it, Costa Ricans, the majority of them are welcoming to Peace Corps with their arms wide open, it was an easy tour in that way. But we did have where we were there was a group of people who were very much opposed to Peace Corps coming in, even where we were.

WILSON: Why was that?

RUBIO: We can do this ourselves, we don't need you sort of thing. And I think that might have been some of it and it could have well been although I was pretty much embraced by public school system there could have been maybe people not understanding, I think many people thought, although I tried to make clear that Peace Corps was paying me, 57:00it could have been I think that perhaps that people thought that I was taking away a job from a fellow Costa Rican and jobs were scarce and so there could have been some of that playing into it. I don't think my husband--and I think the volunteers in that area were male Peace Corps volunteers there had been--

WILSON: Again, you go back to that--

RUBIO: To that and I had been warned that women are not going--maybe they knew that there were certain things that I would, I broke some of the rules but I probably would have even with cultural sensitivity I would have broken those rules. Anyway I feel sure I was 21.

WILSON: And you know gender roles have been an issue for lots of Peace Corps volunteers.

RUBIO: For Peace Corps volunteers, and I'm sure that Costa Rica was fairly those gender roles were pretty flexible by comparison to women 58:00who were sent to other parts.

WILSON: From other parts of the world.

RUBIO: Yeah, Yeah. So I'm sure I had it easy but but those were those were issues. And then I'm thinking--I guess that kind that kind of last party when I thought things were had been going so well and for that to turn on me when we went back to our cabin that night and they were throwing stones and that was that was very and I left with in my mouth, a taste of that in my mouth. And when I thought things were more positive, but I'm sure that could have maybe just been a few people. You never know, and then you make it at that young age, you think oh my gosh the whole town is against me what did I do wrong? And it could have been maybe two or three gentleman who had too much to 59:00drink that night. So, you take that with you but overall my stay was wonderful and an easy tour really by comparison.

WILSON: What was it like coming home?

RUBIO: It was it was hard coming home because I had been pretty well spoiled as a kid, we had been given anything that we wanted and then my eyes were opened in Costa Rica. And then we came back to, I guess Disney World had just opened in Orlando, and I think one of the things that people wanted to do was to take us to Disney World and we did that I don't think we were back a week, maybe a week and we were treated to a trip to Disney World in Orlando because my parents family they live in Miami and it was just obscene to me. Probably it would have 60:00been obscene to me anyway but it was incredibly obscene coming from what we came from and so I think the readjustment was pretty hard and I think actually that is why we decided that is why we were going to be back-to-the-landers, which was our next big deal is because I think we had seen another way of living in Costa Rica that much of what we respected, I mean these people they were in a throw away society, they- -things we throw away they kept and they were so appreciative and we felt so spoiled and I think that is why we took the direction we went or decided to move--

WILSON: So, what did you do?

RUBIO: We moved to, well first of all we went with our readjustment allowance to Europe and Africa and North Africa and backpacked for I don't know seven or eight months, I can't remember maybe less. We took 61:00a freighter over and a freighter back and then decided were going to live off the land and came to Kentucky in ----------(??).

WILSON: So, that's when you came to Kentucky?

RUBIO: Uh huh.

WILSON: So, you were in Berea then or ?

RUBIO: Oh no, we were in Wayne County, Kentucky, Monticello area we bought land there and there were other I guess there were a lot of communes in the area. Once again we jumped in with not a lot of sensitivity maybe to the people of that area. There was a Mao commune and Jews for Jesus and part of the farm, Stephen Gasden and the farm, we were not a part of any commune but we were outsiders coming in. So---

WILSON: How long did you live in Wayne County?

RUBIO: Let's see we were there about maybe two years.

WILSON: And this is? Mid-seventies by that time?

RUBIO: Yeah, mid-seventies and then we decided that my husband was not very handy, you know Miami boy and we were going to live off the land 62:00that didn't last very long and so then we moved to Lexington and went to graduate school.

WILSON: Okay, so you went to Graduate School at the University of Kentucky?

RUBIO: He did, he did. My husband.

WILSON: He did. In?

RUBIO: Sociology.

WILSON: In sociology. And at that point you were doing?

RUBIO: I played around with remedial reading in graduate school but never finished the program.

WILSON: Okay, and then?

RUBIO: Then we ended up in Berea out in the country, originally because he had a job with a--my husband got a job with a non-profit corporation in Berea.

WILSON: And this is?

RUBIO: Oh, I just. I can't--

WILSON: We lost track of time, and then you moved in?

RUBIO: In. We were out on the outskirts, on a farm once again about 63:00three-hundred acres, it was gorgeous, but I started having grand mal seizures and so which I had not had before and I did not want to be in the middle of nowhere having grand mal seizures and plus once again we were just too isolated and so then we moved into Berea, into the town. And then I started, I went, while out in the country and then in town I decided to get my MFA at Warren Wilson College in North Carolina.

WILSON: And you could do that as?

RUBIO: As a low residency program, you're there on campus about two weeks of every semester and then you would work with professors. It was the Goddard Writing Program originally and it relocated to Swannanoa, North Carolina which is right outside of Asheville in the Black Mountain area and so that's what I did. And then--


WILSON: And had you had you been writing all this time--all the time before you never did any writing--you were reading in Costa Rica but not writing.

RUBIO: I did some writing but not really, I wasn't really serious about it. I had studied under Michael Schera at Florida State University; he won a Pulitzer Prize, I was invited to study with him for the Killer Angels but I would toy ----------(??) with writing and learn from writing, I didn't know--I didn't want--writing I thought was a tough life and I blamed it for my father's early death, so I didn't want any part of writing and--but I finally got serious about writing getting my MFA program and then started to write more seriously--

WILSON: Had you gotten the MFA when you were working as the Peace Corps recruiter at the University of Kentucky?


RUBIO: Uh huh. I had gotten it and I was working on a novel at that time which did not get did not get accepted, it came close but did not. I mean someone, the literary editor, wanted the commercial editor to kill the contract, so that it took me ten years to break in with a novel. So, I was working on that novel while I was recruiting for the University of Kentucky.

WILSON: You were also working, I mean you did other kinds of things too, right?

RUBIO: Oh yeah before that I was I was a VISTA volunteer, I wrote grants for God's Pantry and then I worked with for awhile part-time with the elderly suffering from memory loss, Alzheimer's disease. and then became a volunteer there for years too. So, I was always doing, I worked at the Council of the Southern Mountains Bookstore which was in Berea at a time I clerked there, I was a receptionist in the Home Ec. 66:00Department at Berea College for a while, I did a lot of little things, you know.

WILSON: Then came Icy Sparks.

RUBIO: Right and then started just writing.

WILSON: And so you've been writing for the last?

RUBIO: A while now. I mean, Icy Sparks came out and then I wrote a book between, right after Icy I finished another one, did not like it, my editor found some problems with it. She said she'd be willing to work with me on it, but she didn't think it would be a good second novel. It was about people suffering from Alzheimer's disease and she said you will be typecast and you don't want to/do that. Because Icy Sparks was about a little girl--a metaphor but suffering with Tourette's Syndrome. So, she said have you ever thought about writing an epic, 67:00an historical novel and I said yeah I have and so I started on that one. So I do have this other one shelved and then before Icy I've got three shelved.

WILSON: Three, oh my goodness.

RUBIO: So, I mean it took me ten years to break in with a novel so--

WILSON: But now you're starting on another one which isn't any one of those, right?

RUBIO: Oh yeah, now this is just something else. To me, I don't know, I mean by the time I let something sit and then pull it back out and rework it, I might as well write something new because I see everything that was wrong with it or is wrong with it and it's just as much work for me to go back and reshape most of my writing is in the revision any way so I might as well do something I'm kind of excited about so that's what I'm, doing now but I think I'm getting ready to after this new novel [Editor's note: The Woodsman's Daughter], hopefully they'll take it if I finish by August, I'm ready to teach or do something a 68:00little different.

WILSON: Oh really.

RUBIO: Yeah, I'm getting burned out with writing and the isolation.

WILSON: Yeah, that's isolating again isn't it.

RUBIO: It may be in some strange bizarre way being in Penas Blancas and the middle of nowhere being so isolated and learning how to fill my time with activity and how to entertain myself. maybe that was that was a good beginning for deciding to ultimately, deciding to write because you do need those long stretches of solitary time when you are by yourself and you're isolated and you have to make do with that so maybe that maybe that groomed me a little bit.

WILSON: Is there a novel about Costa Rica? Ahead some time?

RUBIO: You know there very well might be. I haven't decided yet whether 69:00I'm going to do that or not or how I would do it. But there might there might be about my Peace Corps experience.

WILSON: Or coming out of the?

RUBIO: Yeah, coming out of the Peace Corps and deciding to live off the land and all the crazy experiences that came from, yeah maybe leaving the Peace Corps and how that kind of takes you in a certain direction and how it changes your way of thinking. I certainly was, when I, after Peace Corps, I was certainly more maybe radical in my way of thinking than I had been before. I'd been brought up very conservatively. I'm more progressive, put it that way.

WILSON: That goes to the next question which is, what do you think the impact of your Peace Corps service was on the country and the people? And then, what was its impact on you?

RUBIO: On the country and the people, I think one really positive thing 70:00is that when I left there were kindergartens in these two towns and people were pretty much in favor of that idea and kindergartens and preschools and they had Costa Ricans to take my place so that was very positive. And my husband did wonderful things much bigger than I, he did really good things I think so, and I thought we did make friends and I thought we built, we created some bonds and friendships that were strong while we were there. Hopefully that that helped. This was a rough time though. This was Vietnam and Americans were not liked and 71:00I know some Costa Ricans, and especially as we went into South America, thought that many Peace Corps volunteers were CIA operatives so and I know there were while we were in Costa Rica they had I guess the kind of one of the socialist revolution in Peru, and the Peace Corps was kicked out so we got a lot of uh Peruvian volunteers came into Costa Rica. So many were like bordering on breakdowns, nervous breakdowns. So when I look at it we had a really easy tour so we got some of that in Central America but not a lot. Costa Ricans are pretty friendly so overall I think it was a very good experience.

WILSON: So what was the impact on you? I mean you started to talk about that--

RUBIO: I think the impact on me was probably much greater than my impact 72:00on them at any level but my eyes were opened I think when I went to Costa Rica and I knew that we were in an easy tour, Costa Rica was known as an easy tour and I thought this is an easy tour and yet I'm seeing how many of these people live and how rough it is for them, and it just, everything changed about my way of thinking. I had been so sheltered, I had never left the country, this was my first time out of the country, my eyes were just totally opened, my whole, I was heading down that pathway because I was very much against the war but it was just that everything changed then, the way I saw the world and the way that I saw how most of the world lived and so it changed the way 73:00I think.

WILSON: And so, talk a little bit more about that what do you think the impact of Peace Corps experience has been on the way you see the world today and what is going on now?

RUBIO: Well, I definitely think you know in terms of we think terrorism now that if you're going to try to overcome that or conquer terrorism you don't do that by invading a country and killing people even though that may be (??) your intentions. That just is not the way you win people over, you don't do it that way. You do it by reaching out and trying to help people. I guess some of what's been going on like in Pakistan with the earthquake, that's how you make alliances 74:00and friendships. You don't, you do that by acts of generosity, not by what we're doing now. I mean that is a major lesson, and that we are all pretty much the same, we're all human beings, we're pretty much the same in that way, we all have, we want to keep our families safe, we want to feed our families, we have pretty much those same kind of values, that in that way those likenesses are bigger than our differences, and I think if we can, if we can tap into those things and exploit that then in a positive way that's what will change the world. And certainly not what we're doing now, I'd have to say.


WILSON: I guess I think back to when you talked about Icy Sparks as being a metaphor but would you have written that book in terms of the way you deal with diversity and respect I think for differences. Does that have any connection to the--?

RUBIO: You know I've never thought of it that way but it could very well be, very well be. You could be right how maybe respecting differences both ways, yeah it could very well be. I hadn't thought about that. That's a very good question, Angene, I hadn't thought of that but now that I'm kind of revisiting all this it could have and that sense of 76:00being different and not being accepted and yeah very much.

WILSON: And then she really illustrates how you do accept--

RUBIO: Right, right, right, right.

WILSON: Everybody at the end of the novel (??).

RUBIO: Maybe a combination of my time spent in the mountains but that also comes from the Peace Corps experience too, and because we would have never settled in the mountains like that had we not come from Peace Corps so everything builds on everything else. So I think you're very much right because when I grew up in south Georgia it was a close- knit, rural community. Everyone knew everyone else and was pretty well embraced so this was a bit, I tasted something different so could very well be so.

WILSON: What do you think the overall impact of Peace Corps has been? 77:00And what should its role be today? A lot smaller than it was when you were in.

RUBIO: The overall impact? Well, I think Peace Corps is a way of making friends through trying to help others in kindness, and I think that that's how you open doors and how you befriend people, and you have alliances that work over time in that way and that's what Peace Corps, it was a different way to do things, and it's a good way to do things and what was the second--?


WILSON: The second question is what should its role be today? I mean there are some people who are saying we need to be specifically development oriented as opposed to uh being about building relationships uh

RUBIO: But I think you can't separate those two if you're, I agree, I mean things have changed. When I was recruiting, I mean when I got into the Peace Corps you were liberal arts, you got in. Things have changed and I understand that that makes sense to me but if you develop, development is fine but you're still creating friendships you're doing for others, you're talking to others, you're communicating, you're dialoguing to work out problems that's what it's all about. That's how you change the world hopefully, and it may be idealistic and all of that but that's who, the way I still am. I mean I guess I am a little more cynical now but not much. I still, I think you can't come from Peace Corps and turn cynical. I just don't think 79:00you, I don't know, I guess some former Peace Corps volunteers can and I guess I'm older and more cynical now and more guarded but even though my Peace Corps experience was a mixed bag in many ways it opened my eyes to much and I saw how much, you know, friendship and working on development, it's all one and the same to me. But you try to overcome the differences and see the commonality and that's important and you do that by working through problems and listening to the other side and paying attention and listening to what they have to say. And I--you know I don't know, I think, I believe in Peace Corps. I think it was a good thing. It was a good thing for me and people say, "Well, did you give a lot to Costa Ricans?" and I think they taught me far more. 80:00They taught me another way to look at the world and that was by far the bigger lesson, and I took so much more away from that experience. But that's positive if you come back to this country and your eyes are opened somewhat. Then that is a good thing.

WILSON: Is there anything else you want to say, a question you want to answer that I haven't asked?

RUBIO: No, you've done really wonderful job. I haven't thought about any of this. This is so amazing. I couldn't even remember, last night I said oh gosh I can't remember anything. I've forgotten everything but then all these names of people were are coming back to me. And I do remember, I guess this is another story about Costa Rica, a real positive one, my mother came to visit and the people--

WILSON: Did she come for your wedding ----------(??)?

RUBIO: No no no no, we were married by the justice of the peace. I 81:00knew so little Spanish that she had to punch me to say "yes, si". I didn't know when to say it. So, but my mother came and the people were so lovely and wanted to meet her so much because they did, they threw a party once again the party was dancing and beer. Costa Ricans make really good beer. And my mother was like out with the principal, I remember her at the school dancing with him. So, it was just kind of you know in that way just really generous, generous people and so.

WILSON: So she learned something about Peace Corps too? Was there some impact then on your family of your experience do you think?

RUBIO: I wish my father had been alive because, I do remember, yes I think there was, I think there was quite a bit. She fell in love with the children and she saw, she sent me all the toys and so when she came out to our little house and saw all the toys. She refused to sleep at 82:00our house we had to drive her back into town because she didn't want to be there at night but she saw all the children coming over and in fact sent more I guess Barbie dolls.

WILSON: Oh my.

RUBIO: I know, but they absolutely, all those little girls wanted those Barbie dolls and so she would send those and they were a big hit. So uh I think it did somewhat. I do remember taking her to a beach called Manuel Antonio.

WILSON: Oh that's a beautiful place.

RUBIO: And when we were there it was not developed at all. There was no development, there was a little bitty restaurant, and maybe a few little bungalows to stay but that was it. You had to park your jeep, if somebody was taking you, at the bottom and you had to hike to get there. And we took her and I remember she hiked and I remember when 83:00she saw Manuel Antonio, the monkeys in the tree, and the water she was transported. She was just, and I remember she walked on the beach and she was talking and I saw her talking and I asked her later because I gave her her space, to whom were you talking. She said "Oh I was talking to your dad." That was pretty touching. "I was talking to your dad." So, there were a lot of, I remember to the jeep that we were in before we got out got stuck in the mud and I remember she tried to push it out and she got covered in muck and mud and everything. And my mother was a very sophisticated woman. I mean my mother was just ---- ------(??) --I don't remember her ever doing anything that she wasn't in 84:00high heels and what not --and covered in mud and laughing about it. So I got to see her in a different way --I always thought she was way too prissy for me --and then I got to see my mom in a whole different way and I thought well she's pretty cool, this is pretty cool just to be completely covered in mud because the tires were kicking it out and we were stuck and to laugh about it. I mean there were certain things she wouldn't do. She wouldn't stay in the house at night. I had spoken too often of the rats but there were things that I thought. It was a wonderful. I have forgotten so much.

WILSON: But it was a while ago.

RUBIO: It was while, it was a while back and I do think years ago and I'll share this. I was very, very ill and doctors thought that I had encephalitis and they didn't give me a lot of hope. And I thought I had encephalitis. I was in bad, bad shape. They didn't know what in 85:00the world was going on, and I remember when you go through your life and you start thinking of the things that matter, you getting ready in case you, you pass and I remember ----------(??) and I knew then it meant something because I had a few things that meant something. The writing was something and, of course, your family, my friends, but the writing was something but right there with it was Peace Corps. It was one of those things that when I was going to redo this again did help to shape and form you and it was, it was always there even with some of the heartache involved in it. It was, it was there as one of those major experiences in my life and now that I am so healthy, I go back and when I think back on that I think well that's so interesting that I would, that was there. I mean I was thinking of things that made things worthwhile that had counted and Peace Corps was there, it was 86:00right there. Not so much my being a back-to-the-lander in or but Peace Corps was there. That was there, one of those major life experiences that meant something so.

WILSON: Thank you.

RUBIO: Thank you.

[End of interview.]