Interview date: August 16, 2016
Interviewee: Glenn LeBoeuf
Interviewer: Melissa Ziobro
Transcriber: CastingWords.com/Leigh Anne Woolley, Monmouth University Student
Melissa Ziobro: This is Melissa Ziobro, Specialist Professor of Public History at Monmouth University, interviewing Glenn LeBoeuf for the Monmouth Memories Oral History Program. Today is August 15th, 2016 and we are on our campus in West Long Branch, New Jersey.
Glenn, good morning. For the record, could you state your full name and date of birth?
Glenn LeBoeuf: Glenn Ward LeBoeuf. November 24th, 1953.
Ziobro: All right, tell me a little about your early life. Where were you born and raised?
LeBoeuf: Born at Saint Michael’s in Newark, New Jersey. To Norman and Shirley LeBoeuf. He did his time in the Army during World War II. Where, oddly enough, he was in the last cavalry class in the Army at Fort Riley. Trained on horses. They canceled in 1942.
Then he transferred to the Army Air Corps, which was not the Air Force yet, and worked on B-29s… worked on the bomber that dropped the atomic bomb. He went from horses to working on a plane that dropped the atomic bomb within three years.
That span of technological leap has always fascinated me. He proceeded to have five kids in the ’50s. He was a gym teacher, started at $2,400 a year as a gym teacher. He thought that was big money back then. He went on to be a champion Weimaraner breeder.
I had a very idyllic Ozzie and Harriet kind of upbringing, growing up in a very rural area of Warren Township, New Jersey, in Somerset County, making slingshots and building tree forts, and doing all of the stuff kids did.
Then the developments came in the ’60s and changed the whole tenure of the town, and that was it. Softball, little league, tennis, football. I had just normal upbringing, as normal as I could think normal was.
Ziobro: Did your mom ever work?
LeBoeuf: She went back to work “After the youngest got out of diapers,” she said, which was 1965. She was a secretary at the Board of Health, part-time and full-time. She worked from ’65 to ’84. My father, amazingly enough, taught from 1952 to 1984.
They gave him an award at retirement because he missed three days of teaching. [laughs] From 1952 to 1984 he was out three days and they said nobody ever did that, ever. His work ethic was great, he always had two or three jobs.
Teachers didn’t really make decent money until later on in the 70’s and 80’s. He always had to have two jobs. He put me through Monmouth [College] painting houses.
Ziobro: Did your father have a college degree?
LeBoeuf: Yes, amazingly, he got a fencing scholarship to Seton Hall, because my grandmother got sick. He went to the doctor that did the team physicals, said to the doc, “My mom’s sick, she can’t get out of bed.” The doctor drove him in Newark to his apartment. But that doctor … started fencing schools all over North Jersey.
Saw my father was six foot two, had no money for college, wasn’t planning college. He gave away four scholarships to Seton Hall. He had given them all away, and one kid had dropped out the day before. By the time my father got out of the car, he had a scholarship to Seton Hall.
Which is why I’m sitting here, because he was in a car with Doctor Cetrulo in 1940. Driving my father because of my sick mother. Which help me love history. The connecting of dots and the serendipity and the what if’s have always fascinated me in history. They still to this day do.
I just finished a book about Lincoln. The 25 What If’s In the Life of Abraham Lincoln. Which is going to be published this fall, self-published. I owe a great deal to my parents. They taught me that friends are everything and work hard, work ethic. I had a great upbringing.
Ziobro: Tell me a little about your education prior to coming to Monmouth.
LeBoeuf: I was an average student. Now, I know I have ADD, I take 20 milligrams of Adderall. That’s been for the last 12 years, in focusing and prioritization issues. I loved English, I love reading, I love art. I was an Art Minor here, spent a lot of time here in the ceramics lab. I was an average student.
I was a lousy football player but I loved being on a team. They never played me. I wasn’t tough, mean, or fast. I just loved being on a team. I did love playing tennis. I was varsity freshman, sophomore, senior year at Watchung Hills Regional High School up in Somerset County.
Still play tennis — played tennis yesterday, going to play today. Oh, and … plays. I was in the theater department. I was shot down in flames when I got to Monmouth as I tried out for the great play “1776,” which went on at Monmouth to win all sorts of awards. I don’t know anybody who remembers that.
That play here – Monmouth College was put on the map way before our polling data because of that one play. They took that play and they circled the country putting that play on. They got so many awards here at Monmouth, so no wonder I didn’t make it because it was tough competition.
Ziobro: Growing up, did you always know you would go to college? Was that expected of you?
LeBoeuf: No. I went because, number one, I didn’t have anything else to do. All my friends were going. I know I didn’t want to stay home. It’s all the negative things that led me to, “Well, my only choice was go to college.” I went to Monmouth because I was still dating a girl who was a year behind me, and I wanted to be able to go home on weekends and see her.
That changed virtually immediately when I fell in love with the campus and made a ton of friends here. We soon broke up, so my reason for coming here didn’t last very long at all. I’m
glad I came here, for a whole host of reasons, not least of which was getting a stunning look at the Wilson Hall which still is one of my main loves.
Ziobro: You said that all of your friends were going. Do you think that would have been the case if not for the Vietnam War?
LeBoeuf: No. I started in ’72. The US combat role ended in ’73. It was very obvious that they were only calling up bidders — they still had the draft — only calling up the highest right-on numbers for the draft. It was very well known by ’72 that no one in ’72 was getting drafted, so the war was really winding down.
Eventually the war ended in ’75 obviously, as Saigon fell. It wasn’t a palpable thing in people’s minds by ’72.
Ziobro: You chose Monmouth College in part because of proximity to home, so you could get back to see that girlfriend…
LeBoeuf: A friend of mine at college got accepted to Monmouth, and he was looking for a roommate. He said, “Hey, why don’t you go to Monmouth, we’ll be roommates?” I said OK, and he became my best friend.
Ziobro: Did you look at any other schools?
Ziobro: What was the best friend’s name?
LeBoeuf: Charles Barbaz, B-A-R-B-A-Z. He graduated History and Government.
Ziobro: Do you keep in touch?
LeBoeuf: Infrequently, yes. He lives in Green Brook. He’s retired, but he’s a good friend.
Ziobro: Did you have to take any entrance exams at that point? There were no exams?
LeBoeuf: I really do think if I approached this university now with the same grades I had then, I couldn’t get in. It was easier to get in then.
Ziobro: I wanted to ask about the selectivity of the admissions process.
LeBoeuf: I firmly believe that I could not get in now with what I was as a high school student then.
Ziobro: Tell me about your first impressions of the campus. Do you remember the first time you came here?
LeBoeuf: I do remember. It was the summer of ’72. I drove with three friends. I know exactly where we parked. I got out of this red Volkswagen with my friend Judy Schneider who had driven, and we walked around, went to Wilson Hall.
I was taken by the fact that this obviously was an estate. There were a lot more estate buildings back then in ’72 that didn’t have to be taken down yet. A lot of the estate buildings, the dog coops — it was just obvious that this was a working estate.
I didn’t know exactly what buildings did, what they housed, but I do now, but it was an amazingly good place, and I’ve always had a certain drama about it. It was easy to get to. It was on 105. It was an hour away from home. You had the beach. What wasn’t to like and they would take me?!
I really liked it, what with a beautiful small campus. I, to this day, tell my friends that I loved the fact that I could walk down the path and bump into any professor I had, and he would look at me and go, “Hi Glenn,” and I would say hello back.
I bump into people today that I ask, “Where did you go to school?” and, “Oh, Rutgers?” I would mention three or four people’s names of people I know around their ages, “Oh do you know such-and-such-and such?” And they never knew them. They never knew who they were.
I just said there’s no way those large universities were anything I wanted to be a part of. That’s why I like it small. This is why I kind of lament- I know the college and university have been using this claim of fame on how small we are how, integral we are.
It just also breaks my heart that every year I come back they’re breaking ground. They buy up every estate house in the area. They put a new dorm or building on it. It seems like they brag about being a small college but they seem hell-bent to getting bigger as fast as they can.
I don’t know if that is economics or just the state of the human mind that getting bigger is a part of how people think. I just wish it would stop growing.
Ziobro: Tell us about the buildings that were here when you arrived. Obviously, the footprint of the campus was much smaller then.
LeBoeuf: In the dorm area the student union was on the other side of Cedar Hall off Cedar Avenue. That housed the AM radio station. It had a snack bar where you could buy hamburgers. They had a small grill there. You could hang out and you could cook. A lot of students hung out there.
That was only my freshman year. It was ’72. It was razed in ’73. Then they’re beginning the construction of what’s now the Stafford Center. Which was known as the New Student Union. That building was built in, I think it was completed in ’73 or ’74.
It housed the new FM radio station WMCX, of which I was a DJ, later on my last year of college. In ’76 I was a DJ there. Which was a lot of fun. The other buildings, the president’s residence was original as opposed to what it is now. It’s a rebuilt. It’s a magnificent rebuilt building…
The Ice House on the estate was converted with the help of local Long Branch Rotary. Was converted in the magnificent Ice House Gallery that it is now. It was an actual functioning ice house. Where they would take blocks of ice blocks from what I think is called Lime Rock Creek.
They would drag them up and pack them in saw dust and straw. That would be the primary refrigeration of Wilson Hall for a while. That’s all that I remember. Also, there were a lot less dorms. Dorms were just the original dorms of Elmwood and Pinewood. They were built I think in 1962. The other dorms Cedar and Spruce were built in ’68.
It was always joked that that Pinewood and Elmwood were built by someone who built prisons, because they looked like they were prisons. It was quite a watershed event when they went co-ed later on. When men and women, I think, were on the same floor as at Pinewood, or something. It was a shocking event.
Ziobro: Was that when you were here?
LeBoeuf: Yeah. The last two years that it was here. I was a resident assistant in ’75 and ’76.
Ziobro: Did you live here all four years?
LeBoeuf: No. I moved off campus my senior year mid-way through. I had actually lost my key as a resident assistant. Dean Ray was the Dean of Students, who controlled the RAs. That was a deal breaker. That was a, “nice knowing you Glenn. Thanks.” I moved off of campus.
Ziobro: Is there a story surrounding the loss of this key?
LeBoeuf: There is an interesting story in that Dean Ray and I didn’t have a good relationship because my sophomore year, an ex-girlfriend of mine’s father had a bunch of these old eight millimeter pornography black and white tapes.
I took it upon myself with my roommate Charles to have a fundraiser for the American Cancer Society. We cleaned out the basement of Elmwood Hall. We had a porn night for cancer. We packed the place. We had rock and roll music blasting.
I remember we had the rock and roll song [sings] , “Can’t get enough of your love.” We played that song on over and over again. It was mostly girls that would come down in groups. Groups of girls giggling and would sit down there. They would watch these porn movies.
We took the money. After taking about a third of the money and spending it on submarine sandwiches for ourselves because we were really hungry, we actually sent a check to the American Cancer Society. Which apparently somebody dropped a dime on us.
Dean Ray calls me into her office and chews me a new one. Like “how could you even think about doing…?” We got a call from the American Cancer Society. She shows me a cease and desist letter. Dean Ray was not happy. That was probably the first genesis.
I went on to put on events, by the way. That was my first event I ever put on. I then went on subsequent to that, to put on Civil War events and blue festivals. My first event was the Porn for Cancer Film Festival in the basement of Elmwood Hall in 1973. It was an epic moment in my life and in the life of Elmwood Hall. [laughs]
Ziobro: What was Dean Ray’s full name?
LeBoeuf: I don’t know. She was a chain smoker. I know she died of cancer just a couple years after I graduated. The only reason I think I wasn’t driven off of campus immediately was because at that time I was very active in the pottery lab with Professor Van Everdingen.
Arie Van Everdingen was very good friends with Dean Ray. They were really good friends. I think he might have put a good word in for me because I was probably one of the better potters that was a non-art-major that came through there.
He put me in all the pottery exhibits and stuff. I think he came to bat for me. That was a wonderfully odd story about Monmouth. [laughs]
Ziobro: While we’re talking about the physical campus, you mentioned the president’s house. Were there opportunities for the students to get up there?
LeBoeuf: Yeah. When I was there early in the ’70s that was a teaching facility. That was where education courses were taught. At the time, this is what I thought, I know now is not true, I thought being a history major you had to do something with it otherwise it was a prerequisite for unemployment.
I figured, well I better get some teaching credits. I remember all my teaching credits were taken up there with Dr. Schechter who was a puppeteer. He actually was a person who did puppeteers. He started the Puppetorium that’s now off the movie theater, the theater in the basement of Wilson Hall. They call it the Puppetorium.
He actually was a big proponent of teaching and the art form of puppetry, oddly enough. I remember taking up education classes up there. Then after I left Monmouth, the year after I graduated it became the president’s residence. They rehabbed it. Then they realized after 25 years, it can’t stand.
The problem is, I used to lament them tearing down all these old buildings. I do know, now, that most of these old houses burn down because of wiring problems. They might be structurally OK, but a fire marshal or a structural engineer would say, “Hey, this has got to come down.”
It would just be too expensive to rewire it. That’s why a lot of buildings get knocked down. I’m sure that’s why a lot of buildings here got taken down.
Ziobro: Did you declare a major right away when you arrived at Monmouth?
LeBoeuf: No, I just knew. The first class I ever took was Miss Pelosi’s Western Civ. The first book she had us read, maybe not the first book she had us read, but one of the books was called The Armada.
I read that book, and in the first chapter, the story of Sir Francis Drake sailing into the port of Cadiz, Spain, three years before the Spanish Armada sailed. He saw all the barges with all the oak staves drying in the sun.
He realized that the Spanish Armada could not succeed if they didn’t have fresh water, or with dried, seasoned oak barrels. Sir Francis Drake loaded his canon with hot shot and fired them into every barge in the harbor.
Sailed out again and left all the barges, hundreds of them, in flames. Delaying, buying time, he bought an extra year, I think, so that England could get ready for the Armada arrival. That connected dot, that little thing that he stumbled upon in the port of Cadiz, which was all they do is make barrels.
That might have saved England, just that little thing. That was, I remember it so vividly, that if this stuff has actually happened like this, why would anyone want to read a novel? Why would anyone want to pick up a book that wasn’t a history book? I knew where my passion was, and still is.
There’s a job, there’s a career, and then there’s a vocation. A job is McDonald’s, my vocation is I’m a financial planner in Red Bank, but my vocation, voca, Latin, to be called, is to talk about history and turn kids on, especially young kids, while they’re still wet cement.
Get them turned on to history, which – I love visiting schools. It’s really Monmouth, and that professor, and that book that really transformed me. Focusing me on the great love of my life, which is history.
Ziobro: When did you finally declare for history with that art minor?
LeBoeuf: Probably when I had to, like ’75. I just loaded, all my electives were either art or history. Had some great professors here, just great instructors. I only had one bad one that I couldn’t believe the college wouldn’t fire.
That person will remain nameless, but it’s probably a tenure thing. I attribute it to tenure. Other than that, I was very, very, very impressed with the department.
Ziobro: Without naming names, what were your concerns about this particular professor?
LeBoeuf: Got off track, just basically, sometimes students could play professor or teacher. You get a teacher off on their favorite subject…we didn’t learn anything about…I even forgot what the topic of the class was. It was a very political time in the ’70s. Watergate, Nixon resigned in ’74. Ford took over, he pardoned Nixon. That was turmoil.
It was just a very tumultuous political time. The post-Vietnam malaise we were going through as well. It was very easy to get certain professors off track to talk about the issues of the day, and we did.
That was the only thing, she was easy to knock off. I didn’t learn what I came there to learn. That’s it. I wasn’t getting my money’s worth. I was having basically a discussion of current events every day.
Ziobro: Since you mentioned politics, do you remember the student body as particularly political or engaged in current events and the political process?
LeBoeuf: Hanging out mostly in the history — it was history and government department then — most people cared about their career. Mostly government guys were pre-law, which meant they typically cared about getting into law school, getting a job, making money.
The real Vietnam thing had gone by the time I was there. There wasn’t a great socialist movement or communist thing, it was all accepted politics. There wasn’t very much angst or demonstrations. There were anti-war demonstrations on campus, and a lot of them, but they were primarily ’69 and ’70.
As, actually, Nixon was able to decrease ground operations in Vietnam, with the great exception of the Cambodian invasion and the Kent State disaster. After ’70, after Kent State, it began to wind down and the campuses weren’t hot beds of turmoil anymore.
Ziobro: How would you characterize the student body during your years here? Were there different cliques identifiable? How would you describe it?
LeBoeuf: No. There were – fraternity brothers were a different thing. I lived in the Phi Psi house for two summers. They rented rooms out to non-frat brothers in summers, and when I stayed, I rented the Phi Psi house. [laughs]
Where I got schooled on how to get a falling down building passing inspection every year, fold a fat envelope. We won’t go into how that gets the house approved every year from a building that was a death trap [laughs] if you ever lived there.
The cliques, the only thing that struck me, I remember it to this day is, I was waiting in line to get into a party up at the Student Center on the third floor, they had this big, is it [inaudible 25:26] Hall they call it now?
They used to have keg parties on Friday nights, typically, with a band and three to six kegs of beer. There was a while there where you could drink if you were over 18. They lowered the drinking age while I was there to 18, then raised it up again to 21 later.
For two years, the drinking age was lowered to 18 here. We had a lot of beer parties on campus. I remember waiting in line to get in. It was a Friday night and I’m feeling pretty happy, as many college kids are on Friday night.
Feeling pretty happy and I’m looking over at what was then the computer lab, which was right across with the big glass things…
LeBoeuf: Let me just turn this thing off. It was a Friday night and the computer lab was packed with Asian students doing homework, and doing lab work, and helping each other out. Some students walking over and I said to myself, “We’re in big trouble.” Because the Asian students here had a work ethic that was just stunning to me.
That they would spend Friday night in a computer lab, where none of my friends would ever, ever consider that, even a Thursday night. The old joke is, “Weekends start Thursday nights.” It taught me, it just showed me, it was my first glimpse of what the world was and different students on campus.
Ziobro: You mentioned a population of Asian students on campus. Do you think there was diversity in the student population?
LeBoeuf: Yeah. There were blacks on campus. Kevin Harris, the guy who lived in my hall, he went on to be the police chief of Piscataway Police Department. He just retired. There was, I thought, plenty of diversity. There were some openly gay kids on campus.
There weren’t many that I knew about that I was friendly with, but it didn’t bother me. A lot of my professors were gay. They didn’t hide that, based on their living arrangements and things. I went and visited a couple of their retirement places in the summer. I was more open minded.
Even though I consider myself a moderate Republican, I’m incredibly normally socially accepting of people. I attribute that to Monmouth. Monmouth exposed me to a lot of great personal decisions, it was personal growth and the friends I hung out with. I just had a good time.
Ziobro: You noted that you would rent a room from a frat house in the summers. Why’d you decide to stay here in the summer instead of going home?
LeBoeuf: Why go home to your parents’ house? I had a job here, I worked in the library. I worked in periodical department, which probably also helped me get good grades. This is what’s cool about the serendipity thing.
The guy who hired me, I needed a part-time job. There was the Student Aid office here that got people jobs. Since my father was a teacher, we didn’t have any money, I was on the five-day meal plan. Which meant I had to make money to eat on the weekends, so I needed to work.
For four nights a week, I would work from nine to midnight downstairs in the library. It was very quiet. I often got a chance to study. I helped students out. I got to learn how to do the microfiche machines and stuff like that.
The guy who hired me was Mr. Van Benthuysen, who oddly enough, was the county historian that wrote a book on the history of the county. Mr. Van Benthuysen and I became friends. We talked about our love of history together.
My friendship with him was instrumental, now I’m very good friends with a dear friend of his, Randy Gabrielan, who you may know, who’s written several books on the county history. It’s really weird how I was connected to people that played, what I call key water cup moments.
You know how if you run a marathon, there’s somebody, a stranger to hand you a cup of water? Where you don’t know who the person is, you never get the chance to thank them, you just drink the water, keep on going? I call those water cup moments.
Where people go throughout your life help you, you had no planning on bumping into them. They just are there with a glass of whatever it is you need to go on to the next phase of life. Also, Mr. Van Everdingen, I was very friendly with the ceramics professor, and he was in charge of putting on the art exhibit every year.
Wilson Hall was taken over every for a couple weeks by a student art exhibit on the mezzanine level, and he asked me to help him put these art exhibits together for like four years. Because of that, he had intense knowledge of Wilson Hall, so he would be telling me stories.
We had to go into the subbasement to get something. I had no idea there was a subbasement to Wilson Hall. There is, and I crawled around in it. His asking me to help him with the art exhibit got me more exposed to Wilson Hall’s history. Another moment of serendipity, I think. It was interesting.
Ziobro: Do you remember the address of the frat house where you stayed?
LeBoeuf: No. It was a Phi Psi House. It’s right across from a Lutheran church down on Cedar Avenue. I paid $60 dollars a month rent for a room. Living in a frat house is a very interesting experience that cannot be related to here.
Let’s just say that are service fraternities, academic fraternities, and then somewhat social fraternities, and it seemed like a social fraternity, and thank God there was a bolt on my door. It was a real eye-opening experience but it was fun.
It was nice to be two blocks from the beach. I walked to work at the library. I think I was almost killed though as a resident assistant. There was a returning Vietnam veteran who was heavily medicated, and yet they let him on campus, I guess with the stipulation that he remain on his medications.
On my floor, he was definitely off his meds. He was blasting his stereo at a level that literally would make most people’s ears bleed and he was standing right in front of the stereo rocking to the intense heavy-metal intensive music. The biggest stereo I’ve ever heard and he couldn’t hear me.
I’m yelling at him behind him, “You got to turn that thing down!” and I touched him on the shoulder and he turned around, he took a wooden shoe tray and beat me over the head repeatedly. I fell to the ground, bleeding all over this floor.
I crawl out into the lobby of Belmont Hall and a girl coming in looks at me she says, “Oh my god!” and I go, “Call security,” and I just kind of collapsed in the corner. He stayed in his room.
Then the next day, his parents came and got him and took him out, he was expelled they said he couldn’t stay in campus because he was disruptive to the student body.
Ziobro: Do you remember if they were many veterans on campus?
LeBoeuf: No, I do not. I do remember — and this is a great story. Somebody picks us up and talks about it — there was a guy in my ceramics lab who had really long stringy hair, quiet guy, wasn’t very social but I talked to…I can talk to a rock. I can get a rock in a conversation with me.
We were both throwing pots and I’m looking over at him and he’s got this scar on his neck. He’s wearing his old Army jacket and this is was like 1975, ’74. I said, “So, are you in the Army?” He goes, “Yeah, yeah.” “Vietnam?” He goes, “Yeah.”
“What did you do?” He goes, “Well, I was in intelligence.” GQ, I guess G2 or whatever the military code is. I go, “What did you do?” He goes, “Well, my job was to nail camouflage boxes on top of trees.” I go, “What do y
He goes, “Well, my job was to fly in along the demilitarized zone or the ocean trail and we would nail these boxes of ammonia detectors on top of trees and that would indicate large concentrations of troops if their urinating, the ammonia would be picked up by the camouflage detectors.
They would be beamed back to Thailand where B52 bases were and a strike would be ordered and they would come in and obviously, millions of our dollars of our weaponry would carpet bomb the area, shred the trees just destroy everything.
We would then fly in and try to find out how many we killed. They obviously, wouldn’t just be a Cong, they would be regular North Vietnamese troops in that concentration, brigade strength, regimental strength.”
He said, “But we never found any bodies.” He goes, “But we did find shredded plastic buckets that the Viet Cong had figured out what these detector were and they were nailing buckets of piss under the detectors and clearing out.” He goes, “So for a year and half that I was on the project, we would continually do this.”
I go, “Did you tell anybody up above you?” He goes, “Oh, yeah. They all knew. They all knew it was figured out but no one wanted to challenge. Just don’t rock the boat.” I keep hearing these stories.
Every war you read about, you hear these stories about “don’t rock the boat,” “just let it go.” Even though it’s not working, don’t. That was my one interview. I collect historical stories where ever I can and it happened to be with this one in the ceramics lab at Monmouth University. I realized the enemy was a lot smarter than we thought they were.
Ziobro: You mentioned the beach a moment ago, was that a big part of life at Monmouth?
LeBoeuf: Yeah. Part of a culture was going to the beach. I was horrified at graduation. I didn’t participate, I was too prudish back then. The resident assistants, it was a dark night and they went to the beach and they all decided to go skinny-dipping together.
About 15 RA’s took all their clothes off and ran in into the water and I’m like, “No, I can’t do this.” That was a beach moment. Celebratory End of school.
Ziobro: Was it a tradition?
LeBoeuf: No. It wasn’t tradition. While I was there though, the beach had a dark side. There was a black pledge that rose up during hazing, during pledge time. Had made several big, big holes in sand but the sand collapsed on this kid and by the time they got to him he was dead.
I remember reporters without permission walking all over campus the next couple of days with cameras trying to interview students, and security chasing them off campus and stuff, because they’re trying to get interviews with students that didn’t know him.
The students didn’t really want to talk to the press so the security got them off campus. That was a bad moment of beach time.
Ziobro: I’ve read about that event in the New York Times. Was there any speculation amongst the student body that that pledge was singled out because of his race or was it just a tragic accident?
LeBoeuf: Just a tragic accident. I remember talking to several people and everyone liked the guy. He was a popular guy. I never experienced any, witnessed, or talked about any racist anything on this campus. It was just a really nice friendly place to be.
I remember one girl died of epilepsy. She basically choked on her own tongue. They found her dead. She had a single room. They found her passed away in the female side of [inaudible 38:54] Hall. One of those years, that was sad as well, but I didn’t know her.
You would see Springsteen walking around campus a lot in the early days. He dated the most gorgeous red head I’ve ever seen that lived in [inaudible 39:12] Hall. She would literally…guys would just stop and watch her walk across campus.
Of course, that was the girl later on we said, “Oh, that’s Springsteen’s girlfriend.” Of the moment I guess, but it was no doubt, just no doubt.
Ziobro: At the time Springsteen was just some guy, right?
LeBoeuf: We bumped into him at parties on the beach. Knowing what I know now — I know now having read a couple biographies on him — he was just a skinny, scruffy, bearded guy that would be playing before his albums came out.
He had two albums out in early ’73 and late ’73. He only sold 25,000 albums, but the first one…The record company was…Monmouth was instrumental, I think I mentioned in my talk. Monmouth was key to him being famous because the record company was going to cut him.
Clive Davis had been ousted from Columbia, who was his guardian angel that gave him a budget and time to keep up with his third album which would be “Born to Run,” which went ballistic, out-of-the stratosphere of success, but they didn’t know that then, and they were very skeptical about the success in his two albums.
They had a meeting with the new guys, and Clive Davis was gone, and Columbia says, “Let’s cut this guy loose, he’s not really making us much money,” but somebody said, “You got to see him in concert.” One guy at the meeting says, “I think this week he is playing at Monmouth College. Let me go down, see him, see his act and I’ll call you.”
He comes to Monmouth, and he goes to a payphone at Monmouth at the concert and calls the people back at Columbia and he says, “Give him all the time he needs. This guy is going to make us a bundle.” That concert that he went to was Monmouth College. In many ways, the performance here was instrumental in Columbia keeping him.
Ziobro: Is Monmouth called out by name in any of Bruce’s bios that you read? Just curious.
LeBoeuf: Yeah. It’s kind of funny, Danny Federici , who is now deceased, is an organ player, was arrested. There was a warrant out for his arrest for hitting a cop with an amplifier in a
concert in Middletown. The cops had showed up in riot gear at one of his concerts and they pulled the plug on the concert that Bruce’s band was playing at.
Apparently, Danny got really upset, he started yelling obscenities and whether or not this amplifier was pushed or fell — no one knows — but the cops blamed this on Danny’s amplifier falling on a cop. He got away, but apparently there was a warrant out for him.
He was going to play at the next big concert was Monmouth, and he didn’t want to go in. He was paranoid which didn’t help by some parting efforts. He would hide in his car and he wouldn’t come in. Bruce had to come out in the parking lot here at Monmouth and sit in his car and say, “Danny, they’re not here.”
He would be, “Bruce, they’re on the roof. I know they’re on the roof. They’re waiting for me.” He would be all paranoid, he wouldn’t want to go in. Bruce came up with the idea that, “OK, just before the concert starts we’re going to let all of the fans up-close. We’re going to let them closer than normal.
If there’s any cops in there, we’re going to sneak you in, just before the band starts. I’ll play one song, get the crowd really going, you sneak in and go up on stage, and the cops are not going to want to arrest you in the middle of a concert. We’ll get you off the stage before the end of the concert. That works!”
Danny said, “OK, we’ll do that.” That was a Monmouth moment of Bruce and Danny Federici. I thought that was pretty fun.
Ziobro: While we are on the topic of good times at Monmouth, tell me about any of the other extra-curricular activities that you were involved in? You said you were a DJ, for example.
LeBoeuf: DJ, Ceramics Department, I tried and failed to audition for…I remember he says, “Well, sing something.” You’re sitting there, if you ever auditioned for anything, there is about eight people up there. “What do you want to sing for us today?” I said, “Sing something from West Side Story,” because I just done West Side Story.
I sang something. I got three lines out. “OK! Thank you!” and you just, “Oh, OK.” It was a humbling reality check that I was a big fish in a small pond in high school, and you constantly moved to bigger ponds where you don’t…
Same thing with tennis. I really didn’t have the time. I actually showed up one time for tennis practice. I thought it would just be a walk on and try out for the tennis team, and I saw these guys hit and they were so much better than I was. I said, “I might be at University of [inaudible 44:30] Hills, but I ain’t going to be on the team here.”
Ziobro: There was a tennis team at Monmouth?
Ziobro: Because there was not football yet?
LeBoeuf: Yeah. Not football.
Ziobro: What athletics do you recall?
LeBoeuf: The rumor was that football — I don’t know how true this story was — one of the trustees, years ago, son was a football player in another school. His son died playing football and he refused any discussion of football at the time.
That was scuttlebutt by the students. It could have been a hearsay story. I liked the fact that it wasn’t a big football school. I love football. I love watching football but I personally think it is a big distraction. That’s me.
Ziobro: Tell me about being a DJ. Did you have a special name or anything that you used on the air?
LeBoeuf: No, just WMF6 FM at West Long Branch. It was 80.1 back then, and I would play…My mother is not around to care anymore, so I would put on “The Dark Side of The Moon,” and I would go to the stairwell and smoke a joint with my friends.
It was spinning vinyl and we just had a good time. The dangerous part of that was when I started student teaching at Ocean Township High school — which was a great Monmouth experience. It’s all about serendipity.
I get a student teaching job in spring of ’75 and the two classes they had me teach was World War II and Civil War. Things I was very interested in and those were the classes that they wanted me to teach, knowing nothing about me.
They said, “We want you to teach these classes.” Basically, it was one of those moments where you look up at heaven and pinch yourself going, “Thank you God,” and that really pushed the history needle further into my armor.
Some of the female students, when I was younger, when I was actually a teacher at New Providence after college, people tell me now you were the cute teacher. I had a bunch of senior and junior students at Ocean Township who were not that much younger than me — I was like 21.
They would call up the radio station. The radio station would carry to their homes in Ocean Township. Now they listen to Mr. LeBoeuf on the radio. They would call in, “Mr. LeBoeuf!” and they would be giggling and stuff and I would have to hang up on them.
Then one of them came by the radio station with her girlfriend. They rode bikes over. I’m going, “This isn’t happening girls. You got to leave. You can’t be here. I’m deucing teaching there, this is totally not going to happen.” I literally threw them off campus but it was one of those funny things.
Ziobro: In your assessment, did Monmouth have a bit of reputation as a party school?
LeBoeuf: So they said. Somebody said Playboy Magazine back in late ’60s, it was rated as the top 10 party schools that was tributed to a Playboy Magazine list. Everybody comes up with a list. Was it a party school? I guess, but it didn’t strike me as…
First of all, I didn’t drink beer. I’m always a weird guy. I just don’t like the taste of it. Partying, I got drunk once on campus. The room’s spinning and everything. I remember driving the porcelain bus at the Inkwell when my friends took me out for my birthday and they made me do flaming shots on the beach with Jack Daniels.
I am now gripping this toilet in Inkwell and I swore to god and all the angels I would never get drunk again, so I never did. I never liked this experience of being drunk, and to see people do it weekend after weekend after weekend was the weirdest thing to me. Anyway.
Ziobro: You mentioned the Inkwell, what were some other places off-campus that you guys hung out at?
LeBoeuf: Inkwell was cool. The original Inkwell which is right on the corner of Brighton and 2nd Avenue, not where it is now. Where Inkwell is now in 2016 was not the original site, the original site of 2016. What’s cool, there was summer of ’75 which was a really watershed summer for me.
I was dating a girl that worked as a waitress there and she would wait on Springsteen’s band, and they would come in there at two in the morning after a gig or a practice and they would order a bunch of food they would tip $100 back then.
In 1975, $100 is like $400 now. I was a dishwasher in the back and I lasted one night there. I got fired in one night because I come out at four in the morning and the cooks, they sit down, they fire up a joint and I go, “Well, isn’t Joe going to come down and talk to me?” because Joe, the owner lives upstairs.
He goes, “No, he will give you a call next week.” “OK.” I participate and you can hear the rats running across the tin ceilings, the old tin tops of the old buildings, you hear the rats run across. Of course, Joe comes down and talks to me and of course I couldn’t form a sentence.
He says, “So, what do you think? You want the job?” I’m like, “Uh, eh, uh, eh.” “See, he don’t want the job. Pay him!” I lasted one night there, thanks to the folks getting me stoned. It was the greatest jukebox. They would have Joni Mitchell, Pink Floyd, I remember Us and Them.
Every time I hear Us and Them, I think of the Inkwell. I think of the early Joni Mitchell songs. They had this jukebox. They had the most awesome music on there. Oh my god, the oil paintings around the room, it was such a hippy place to hang. It was great, and you don’t even really appreciate it.
There was a bar called Patty Murray’s which was further on down 2nd Avenue. I know it’s not called Patty Murray’s anymore but that was the place where you could drink when you were on a date. It was a great place, a classier place to bring your girlfriend if you were dating someone or in a relationship. That was the place to go.
I didn’t do all the clubs. A lot of fraternity brothers were very active in going to the Trade Winds, and some clubs in Asbury. I did not go to the clubs in Asbury. I didn’t have any money. I didn’t go to the Upstage or the Student Prince where Springsteen’s bands were playing. I just didn’t have any money to go. That was it.
Ziobro: Let’s transition back to academics for a moment. You mentioned a Western Civ course that was particularly influential. Do any of the other courses you took stand out in your mind, and why?
LeBoeuf: Dr. Reinberger, who was nearly blind, he taught Russian History one and two. Great professor. There’s a great scene where a student — a girl, a woman.
We’re showing the picture of a German soldier, a famous picture — knowing you as I do, I know you’ve seen this picture — who is reloading a German sub-machine gun, a machine pistol they call it. He’s smoking a cigarette dangling from his left.
He’s reloading his weapon between going back to a trench of women and children, naked women and children, before gunning them down which is the first feeble method of the final solution in ’41 and ’42, before they went on to more industrial methods.
The girl looks at the picture. She goes, “I could never do that,” and Dr. Reinberger, I remember that, even the sound of the voice, as she goes, “Of course you could, of course you could because supposing you were a sentry, in the regular army. You were a Catholic…Many Catholics in Germany.
You’re a Catholic, raised a Catholic, Beethoven, Chopin, you’re educated, you’re in Europe. You’re 19 years old, you’re tired, the exhausting campaign, the soldiers go outstripping their supplies, it’s now weeks into the war against Russia.
You’re given sentry duty and you fall asleep in your post. The penalty for falling asleep in your post is to be shot. You’re brought in front of your superior officer, and the officer says to you, ‘Well you’re going to be shot tomorrow unless.’”
That word “unless is…You don’t care what he’s going say after “unless,” and he goes, “Unless you are reassigned to the special Einsatzgruppen, and you’ll be assigned there for special duty. You’ll be away from the Division. Maybe you’ll join up later on. If you work with them you won’t be shot tomorrow.” “OK, great.”
The first time, they bring you up they say, “OK, you mug down.” You shut your eyes, you blankly shoot and you realize what you did. You maybe go behind the truck, or a transport truck, or something and you throw up. You’re just totally disgusted at what you did.
You keep doing it because you’re ready to do it, and within two weeks, you’re smoking a cigarette as you do it. You’re used to it by then, because anybody could do this. It was a great talk of human nature, about how we could always make a new normal for ourselves however horrific or evil it is.
I used to remember him, Dr. Plate, or a great Dr. Kim, for International Relations. He was great. He formed a Peace Studies group here that was very active for a while. As a sub, he tried to get that going as a sub-degree program at Monmouth, as typically Peace Studies. It was great.
I had just a wonderful experience with Dr. Westcott who taught Colonial History. It was great. Even Dr. Don Miller who got fired from this place, who went on to be…now he teaches at Lafayette. He’s a superb writer of World War II.
Donald Miller, he taught here, was good friends with Dr. [inaudible 55:26] in the Art Department, and probably still is. Wonderful teacher, although he got caught up in some stuff that made him unpopular on campus so the administration sought to get him out. The students went crazy for his defense, but he was a really, really, good teacher.
A socialist, but at the time he was a long-haired socialist guy who taught us a lot of social history of Uni Movement, the Wobblies, the World W, the fresh unionization movements and stuff that…He was really passionate about that, and I loved his passion. He was really, really into it.
Ziobro: Can you elaborate on the circumstances following his departure? Would you rather not?
LeBoeuf: I think for his sake I’d rather not.
Ziobro: OK. Fair enough. You noted earlier, I believe, that you had a pretty personal relationship with most of your professors, that they would know their students by name. Is that an accurate interpretation of what you said?
LeBoeuf: Yeah, I would say, of the classes I had to take, it was Earth Sciences. I really was lousy in Math. I really was bad in math. There was some math I had to know for earth sciences. Earth science is one of these catch-all classes where you had to take it, but the instructor, the professor was very kind.
He sat with me for a couple hours. I had to do some math computations in earth science. I’m just allergic to math back then. By the way…
Ziobro: You’re a financial planner! [laughs]
LeBoeuf: That’s because the calculators and computers. I could do spreadsheet analysis now, but actually, I still…By the way, today I’ll go through the whole day still not using algebra, but I had to take two years of algebra in high school which was torture to me.
Geometry, I liked because it’s visual. I’m a very visual guy. I got my first B. My first B ever in math was in geometry, everything else I got Cs and Ds. Earth science I had to take. That was the only course I had to choke on a bit to get through. Other than that, it was mostly electives, and just had a good time.
Ziobro: You finished in four years?
Ziobro: Was that the norm then? It’s kind of dragging out to five for a lot of students nowadays. Was four the norm?
LeBoeuf: I did the typical thing. I took 12 credits in the fall, just four classes to see what kind of a student I was. Then I took a couple summer classes. I took Dr. King. I took a really good class in anthropology, summer class. I remember walking. I was head resident in the summer of Spruce Hall. I would walk with my flip-flops and tee-shirt.
I would walk to the basement of Wilson Hall, and we’d have an anthropology class. It was great. It was wonderful. I took some summer classes, I think two summer classes, to help catch up. I was out of here in four. Yeah.
Ziobro: You just mentioned Wilson Hall again, and your eyes light up when you mention Wilson Hall. You’re something of an expert on the history of the building, and you’ve noted that that dates to your time here, right?
Ziobro: Any other stories about any hidden nooks and crannies in Wilson Hall that you’d like to share?
LeBoeuf: No. They paved over, there used to be squares of cement on the front portico which is now overlooking the lawn. That’s where they had the…For those of you who know the final scene of “Annie” there was a roller skating elephant for some reason.
They wanted a roller skating elephant in the final scene. The problem was these circles of cement, these squares of cement were, there was a lip to them. Over the years they had settled, and somebody said, “Well, the elephant could trip on these squares.”
They halted production for a day, and they … make them all smooth so the elephant wouldn’t, they wouldn’t stumble on the lip of these things. That’s one thing I remember, them halting production on that so the elephant could roller skate.
They tore those out a couple years ago so now I couldn’t tell that story to anybody because I used to be able to show the paving things for that. About the building now, I know just Maisy’s folly. Hubert Parsons’ wife, Maisy, decided she wanted to be with the ocean.
They halted construction, and it cost an estimated $500,000 for her to add this Aztec atrium because she wanted a quote, unquote “ocean view” which drove the engineers and the architects insane. They said it ruined the symmetry of the building.
You know what, whoever signs the check usually wins the argument. These nouveau riche, not well educated people got Maisy’s folly because whatever Maisy wanted, Hubert got her. He was one of those guys.
Ziobro: Do you have a favorite room in the building?
LeBoeuf: Yeah. Maisy’s closet. If you haven’t seen it, her bedroom has a walk-in closet that’s like an apartment and has a spiral staircase up to a second level where she kept clothes. If you haven’t seen it, get somebody with a key to show you Mrs. Pearson’s walk-in closet — the double level working closet.
Which was hand painted, and it’s the thing that most people, especially women look at it and they are stunned. It’s got dozen drawers for shoes. Opulence is the only word. It’s just amazing for that. With the growth of the college, everybody wants her office, needs her office in Wilson hall.
Many of the once open offices have now been paneled over, and the pool, obviously for safety reasons, has now been built over. It’s still there but it’s underneath flooring. You still see the bowling alley, where the bowling alley was.
Some of the rooms that I was in, and there are classes that are now no longer available, but you can still see Mr. Pearson’s library which is now part of the admissions office. I’m allowed into that area to get tours, which I’ll be doing soon, homecoming – which is amazing to me now.
The last few years they’ve opened up Wilson Hall, but then amazingly during the homecomings they locked Wilson Hall, so your choice was football or football, and I said, “What if people don’t want to watch football?” Now, they opened up in the mornings.
I’m giving tours in the morning, so that it doesn’t compete with football. Tours is going to be over by one for a kick off by 2:00, so I could give tours in the morning which is great. At least, it lets people see the building.
I’m yet to do my PowerPoint presentation which was amazing, but the walking tours I’ve done, PowerPoint is [inaudible 63:41] seven point slide of the old and how it was furnished and stuff so I love to do that…
Ziobro: Let me bring it back to academics, did you complete any internships while you were here? Were they required at the time?
Ziobro: You did your student teaching?
LeBoeuf: Yeah. I did, I think, a great winter intersession course and winter intersession courses here. I took a winter ecosystems with Dr. Brian Chirchir who, on his death bed, because I went to see him on his death bed, he was in Long Branch.
He passed away about maybe 15 years after I graduated, and I walked in to the room and he was with another professor and he had one eye at the time I knew him. He looked at me, he grabbed the arm of the other professor.
He points to me, “Here’s the guy that ended smoking in classrooms.” It’s hard to believe, but on every other desk in this building where we are sitting in, there were little pressed tin ash trays but the windows wouldn’t open, and kids could smoke in every classroom when I was here in 1972 and early ’73.
Then I wrote in editorial and said, “Ask your professors if you are allowed to smoke in the class, and if they allow it, don’t take that class.” I had two professors who taught me and they were like, “Why would Dr. Wesley smoke a pipe in class?”
He didn’t like it very much that I would do this, but I was such an anti-smoker. Still I am. I’m probably allergic to the stuff, but we let it up to individual instructors, “We are not smoking in that class.” Then so much heat was generated by that within two months they banned it from the classroom.
It was my first politically active thing to get some change on campus and I tried to find the editorial in The Outlook, because they keep most in the archives, I couldn’t find it. I don’t know where it was. I also was photographed naked.
I made the front copy of The Outlook in February of ’74 [inaudible]. My friend John and I, carrying an American flag with bandanas around our heads, hopefully to block our identification but it didn’t work.
We ran out wearing only sneakers. We ran out of [inaudible 66:44] Hall with a picture holding flags with [inaudible 66:47] Hall sign behind us into [inaudible 66:51] and that was on microfiche because I did was able to hunt that down with microfiche.
Ziobro: You mentioned a “streaking phase,” was this rampant on campus?
LeBoeuf: It was for one two nights, if you were a normal heterosexual guy, you would be out of your mind if you didn’t sit in the middle of the courtyard and watch women and guys run around campus naked. It was an amazing night to remember and then it just fizzled out.
Apparently, the streaking thing on campus was one of those things that happened that came and went very briefly but I was there to testify.
Ziobro: Any fear by the administration about this or did it kind of die down?
LeBoeuf: No. It’s just something that I’m sure they brought up a discussion and banned it, so it would be none of this allowed or something, but it was too spontaneous. It was too everywhere for the cops to even deal with it. You know what I mean?
First of all, the cops couldn’t run a third as fast as these kids could. These kids were wearing sneakers, and they were in shape, and they were bolting around campus so no cop was going to catch him so it was pretty fun.
Ziobro: As your time at Monmouth was coming to an end, what were your career plans?
LeBoeuf: I thought about now the world’s running down. I was always pro-military in that a military lifestyle could teach self-discipline. It was an OK career choice but I thought about going into the Marine Corps JAG program, where I will be have to do my two summers between junior and senior year at Boston Training School for physical training and stuff.
Then I would graduate second lieutenant and go immediately into law school and then have to give like five or six years with the judge advocate general in the Marines. I just did not see myself as that much of a student to really care that much about law.
I mean, law is very interesting. I do like law, but as a career choice, I just looked upon it as just tedious. Since I liked girls too much, I thought that kind of a commitment would keep me with too many men around, and not enough women. You got to figure, what testosterone does to a guy, 21 years of age.
Ziobro: You went into teaching th
LeBoeuf: Went into teaching. I lived around here. I worked at Rosselli’s Pizzeria where Springsteen would come in, and order an eggplant sub. Then, I worked on a farm, a cattle farm, in Middletown to make ends meet. At night, sending out dozens of resumes.
Then I had some teacher broke her leg, up in New Providence. I jumped in mid-year in ’77, and taught there for two years. They had a decline enrollment — so last hired, first fired. They didn’t offer me tenure, they offered me a half-time position. I said, “I can’t live on that.”
By that time in ’81, Reagan had been elected. Stock market was finally going up after many years. A lot of my friends started going to Wall Street. They had degrees in psychology and sociology. Wall Street was hiring.
I decided to go to Smith Barney because they had the commercial with John Houseman, “We make money the old-fashioned way. We earn it.” I said, “That sounds like a company I want to work for.” Since I had a sailboat, I drove down to Shrewsbury, New Jersey.
I had a catamaran. I said, “My boat’s on the beach. How about I lived on the shore again?” I literally walked in with no appointment. Walked into the Shrewsbury Smith Barney office. An hour later, I was hired. I spent 33 years with Smith Barney.
Ziobro: Are you still with them?
LeBoeuf: No. They actually merged with Morgan Stanley after the Great Recession. When a lot of the consolidations happened, I left them in the bottom of the market. I went with another firm, Garden State Securities, on Newman Springs Road. I’m there now, doing basically the same thing, financial planning, mostly retirement planning.
Ziobro: Were there any mechanisms on campus to assist graduates with that transition from Monmouth to the career world? Or were you kind of just let loose?
LeBoeuf: I’m sure there was somebody. I was definitely aware there was a career counseling place because there were posters all over campus. The campus was willing and able to help you, but I pretty much knew my options.
The emphasis was very good for depression. There are a lot of people were homesick when you first got to Monmouth. That’s rampant in any college. I actually, over the years, was asked by parents who knew I went to Monmouth, if I would, especially from my town of Warren, to please meet with students who were struggling here from war.
I would meet at the Inkwell, see if anything was going on, and both these people flunked out. They just partied too much. They didn’t have the self-discipline, or the focus to become students. That’s the one thing about your freshman year, so much opportunity.
Everyone wants your attention, “Pledge this. Look at this club.” There’s so many distractions, including even going back to your dorm, where I’d tell people, “Go where no one could find you. Find the most obscure place in that library, and just make that your spot. That way, you’ll get through class, and you’ll get a B average, at least, if you do that.”
There were some people who just couldn’t handle the distractions. That’s, I think, a lot of people, it’s the distractions that keep them from being good students.
Ziobro: What advice would you give to students here at Monmouth today?
LeBoeuf: Same advice Lincoln gave, “Decide what you want to be, and be good at.” Avoid the distractions. If you’re going to study, master what you’re going to do. Not only turn the cell phone off, I mean, literally turn it off where you can’t hear a text, and you can’t hear a cell phone, and do that for three hours a night.
If you could disconnect for three hours, or maybe during a bathroom break every hour, check your text messages, or something. Devote your mind. Focus your mind on the subjects you’re studying. People are going to be tapping on your shoulder.
Every book you read, every article you have to read, every paper you have to write, there’s going to be people tapping on your shoulder, by way of your cell phone, or your computer, and they’re going to distract you.
If you don’t learn how to master yourself, Julius Caesar said, “\”Self-conquest is the greatest victory.” Learn how to master yourself. Learn where your weak points are. We’re all social. We’ll all probably, in special knowledge, too social. Do you really have to know?
First, look at the picture of the burger your fraternity brother’s having in Philadelphia at night with his girlfriend. Is it really something that you really have to look at versus the book report you have to do due by tomorrow? Really?
Take the great distractor and turn it off, and learn to focus. Learn to manage time, and learn to focus. I liked getting early classes. I liked eight o’clock classes. They got you out of bed. I don’t like this late classes thing.
Sometimes, people have to have a job, or I don’t want to schedule it on a Friday because I work all day. I get it. That’s not what I’m talking about. I’m talking about getting up, feeling the ground, and hitting it. Make your most difficult classes your early classes.
Get it of the way. You know economics. You have to take macroeconomics. Make it an eight o’clock class. Get it out of the way.
Ziobro: If you were at Monmouth again, is there anything you would do differently?
LeBoeuf: If I was the same age at Monmouth again or not now?
Ziobro: If you could go back in time, is there anything you would do differently?
LeBoeuf: I wouldn’t have been caught up in, what they now call the “me generation.” In that a lot of people, myself included, were part of what I would now refer to, as a catch and release program with dating women.
It was a very open non-committal time on campus. It was something where people just didn’t commit. I would have been more respectful of the people I went out with. That’s just one of my
great regrets. One of my great regrets is I really got in two or three relationships with people who really cared for me.
I was just too busy having fun. I rationalized, “I can’t commit to that. I’m too busy over here. I’m going out with the guys here. I’m going to a… concert with my buddies over here.” I really wish I was more mature, emotionally mature, when I went through Monmouth, because primarily I would have treated these people better.
I still regret it, although I’ve apologized to them, and written them letters of apology. I still have regret. Regret is a very hard thing to go through life with. Even though you can forgive yourself on some levels, you carry that regret with you.
Be very aware. Be very mindful — a very good word. Be very mindful of how you treat people, because you’re going to remember how you treated people, for ill or bad. Just try to imagine 15 years from now, looking back, I miss the students. Look back, imagine 15 years now, looking at what you’re doing today, and be proud of it.
Imagine you’re now 50 years older, and you’re looking back at 2016. Will that person 15 years from now that’s you — if you’re alive, God willing — looking back at what you’re doing now, how you’re doing it, and be proud of it. Try to get that gut check.
That’s the only thing I would say on a purely personal level. Maybe, men are more immature than women at that stage anyway. I happen to think so. I happen to think that Andy Rooney of CBS News had it right when he said, “Women make much better human beings than men.” I happen to agree completely with that.
Ziobro: That’s some very thoughtful advice. Thank you. We have reached the end of my prepared questions, and I will just throw it open to you. Are there any other Monmouth memories that you would like to share?
LeBoeuf: I saw a UFO with my best friend.
Ziobro: Do tell.
LeBoeuf: It was the winter of ’75, and it was after a radio show. Sometimes, you would just walk over, and you’d just walk back to the dorms. I remember exactly where it was, and we looked up at these three triangular formations.
Hazy blue lights came out of the sky, and hovered above or near the student center. They just stopped above us. It seemed like it was a couple hundred yards up in the air. The blue lights would pulse together. The three blue lights would pulse together, with no sound at all.
We knew it wasn’t any technology I knew of. I was there with my friend. He was there, and I grabbed his arm. I knew he was looking up at it too, and then it went out. Not over the horizon, but out, like out of the atmosphere out. It had a very fast rate of speed.
I’m jumping up, and I’m going, “Holy shit, holy shit. Oh my god, holy shit, holy shit.” Charlie was going, “I know, I saw it too. I saw it too.” I go, “Well, what was it?” “I don’t know what it was. I don’t know. I don’t know if we’ll ever know what it was.”
Then I go, “I can’t believe you’re so calm.” He goes, “Well, what am I going to do?” He was like, “What am I going to do? I saw it too.” To this day we still talk about it.
Ziobro: Had you gentlemen spend any time in the, ahem, stairwell that evening?
LeBoeuf: Probably, but that literally, had nothing to do with it. Because I know the effects of taking. My friend, Charlie, would never. I was like a three puff person, and that would have constituted a hallucination.
Low level marijuana does not make you hallucinate, it makes you want pizza, and makes you want to listen to Pink Floyd. This was not a hallucination. This was something that actually happened. A lot of people have asked me that question. Were you guys partying?
Ziobro: No. I had to ask, because you mentioned it earlier.
LeBoeuf: No, no. I’m giving you a truthful answer, but it really was there. Subsequent to that, I’ve had certain things.
Ziobro: Have you ever done any research? Did anybody else in Monmouth County report seeing strange lights that night?
LeBoeuf: Yes, I collect. After I graduated Monmouth, I was very active in the alumni association. I put on what you call the alumni forums. I wanted alumni to come back, and find a reason to come back on campus.
In 1984, we invited several experts in different fields to come back, one on antiques, one on some finance friends of mine on investing, which was very big in the early ’80s. One of the guys was AJ Rauber, who had written an article in the New York Times that dealt with paranoid activities in New Jersey.
He was going to give a talk on paranormal activities, and he packed the room. I’ve been very active on, not only paranormal activities, but also I collect UFO stories. You can’t be anywhere in a long-distance car with me without me asking you, “So, do you have any UFO or any ghost stories in your family?”
Because half the time, you will get a story that is just, I don’t want to say unusual, because they’re so common. There’s family ghost stories. I’ve asked girlfriends, like the woman I almost married, I was dating her. I dated her for four years.
The last month of our relationship, her parents forced her to tell me the family story. She wouldn’t tell me for four years, because she thought I was crazy. It’s been very interesting.
Ziobro: You mentioned the alumni association. What years were you formally involved with them?
LeBoeuf: I was heavily involved with the first phone-a-thons. We had six people in a room, dial for dollars we called it. I was very active from ’82 to like ’86, and then I moved away. I got a condo in Freehold. I lived in Red Bank from ’81 to ’86, so very active on campus. We did some great reunions.
The great memory I have, I tell this story at the end of my tours of Wilson Hall, is 1983 was the 50th anniversary of Monmouth. 1933 to 1983. They had a big party in Wilson Hall, champagne, jacket-and-tie kind of thing. It was jacket-and-tie, it wasn’t black tie.
I’ve never seen more people in the building, and on every level. If you could imagine this, I’m standing on the bottom, and they wheel out through, from the garden area, the staff wheels out a cake about, it seemed like it was eight or nine feet around.
This huge cake. 50 large candles on it. They kill most of the lights in Wilson Hall, and they start singing “Happy Birthday.” I’m looking up at all the levels of Wilson Hall, all the people holding their champagne glass up for a toast.
It was one of the most moving Monmouth moments of my life, to see all these alums, and workers, and staff, and board members sing happy 50th birthday to Monmouth. I was so glad I decided to go at the last minute, and it was just a great moment.
I thought about talking about something here, I’m sure somebody would want to hear this, but if you did hear this, you would want to erase the tape and say, “Glenn LeBoeuf went to Brookdale. I’m sorry, there was no Glenn LeBoeuf that ever went to Monmouth.”
I was told by a really good friend of mine, and I’m going to say it’s one of those things I’m open to, but I have two people that I know very well, that were instrumental in this story, that believe that a student here I met at Monmouth in the ceramics lab had…
It’s going to some comic, but the story is, the more detail I give you, your eyes are going to get like saucers. Who believed his father was not from this planet. Off this recording, if you ever want to hear it, I will tell his story.
If you ever got in touch with these two people, they would tell you the exact same story. Years later, many, many years later, I was like, “You’re kidding me. What are you saying to me?” They would lay it out clearly. These people, one’s got a Master’s from here in business.
Girlfriend of my best friend, she told me about the guy that she dated, this guy, before she met my friend. This guy, I’m like, “This makes sense.” Actually, when you hear a weird thing like that, where you actually could say to yourself after listening to people tell the story, where you actually, intellectually say, “You know? That could be true.”
Not that it is true, but that could be true, based on what they said, and the story they told. I’d be glad, at some point in time, for somebody to call me and go, “OK, you got me for 15 minutes. Tell me the story.” It happened here.
To this day, I constantly shake my head, and scratch my head going, “I wonder if that’s true? It could be true”” Because I’m a skeptic. I doubt. You’ve got to go through life skeptically. It’s like Lincoln, Lincoln was a skeptic. You have to doubt everything. Anyway, that’s it.
Ziobro: You don’t want to share on tape?
LeBoeuf: I could. You ready?
LeBoeuf: My friend Gloria, when Gloria [inaudible 88:13] went here, she dated my best friend, Charles, that I was roommates with. She was head resident of Elmwood Hall. She told me, after I became really friends with Charles, because they were living together in her head resident’s apartment.
She said that a guy that she had dated, I said, “I’m in the ceramics lab.” She goes, “Oh, do you know this guy?” I’ll mention his first name. I can tell you his last name later, but this guy, “Bud, was in the ceramics lab, so you may know him. I dated him for a long time.”
I go, “Oh, you mean Bud?” And she goes, “Yeah, you know him?” I go, “Yeah, he’s a good guy. A little odd, but a good guy.” She goes, “Oh, well I guess I should tell you something.” I go, “What?” She waits for Charles to not be around.
She doesn’t want her boyfriend to hear the story, because Charles would not ever entertain this, ever. She goes, “But I really have to tell you something.” She goes, “I went out with him for over a year, and he was really crazy about me. He really liked me. He drank a little too much.”
Gloria was very classy, came from a wealthy family, had a lot of money. He was very, not a lot of money, struggling to get credits to graduate here. She goes, “But we liked each other, and we dated. One time, he gave me a gift.
I remember him being a little drunk at the time. He gave me a gift of a jewel, of a pendant. It was a stone that he had put into a pendant, and I had never saw this stone before. I’d never recognized this as a jewel,” and she wore a lot of jewelry.
She goes alone into a jewelry store in West End, Mother’s Antiques. There was a place, people listening to this, if they ever do, remember Mother’s Antiques on Brighton Avenue. She goes in there, because she’s always looking at jewelry, and rings and stuff.
The guy behind the counter looks at her pendant, and he goes, “That’s a really interesting jewel or stone you have there. What is it?” She goes, “I don’t know what it is. A friend of mine gave it to me.” He goes, “Really? Could I look at it?” She goes, “Sure.” She takes it off, she hands it to the jeweler.
He puts the eyepiece on, he looks at it, and he says, “I don’t know what this is. I’ve been a jeweler for 30 years, and I don’t know what this is.” He takes it in the back, shows it in the back. He comes back out, and he goes, “Where did you get this?”
She goes, “My boyfriend gave it to me.” He goes, “I never saw this before. It’s a gem, but I don’t know what it is.” She goes, “OK, I’ll ask him.” She puts it back on, and she walks out, and he goes, “Please get back to us on this. I’m really curious.”
She goes and asks Bud. “Bud, what is this you gave me? Because the people at the jewelry store were looking at it.” He goes, “You showed it to a jeweler?” She goes, “Yeah, I wore it in the jewelry store. They wanted to take a look at it.”
He goes, “I wish you didn’t do that.” She goes, “Why not?” He goes, “I just wish you didn’t do that. My father gave it to me, and I’m sure he wouldn’t want me to give it away. Don’t let anybody look at it again.” She goes, “OK, man.” She’s like, “Bud, what’s the story?”
Finally, he tells her. He has a need to tell her that, “My father came here, and he’s not from this planet. He came here, and there are hundreds of him. They’re humanoid. They tend to keep to themselves. They tend to go into the trades of carpentry, where they can work alone.
They don’t have interaction with people. They don’t want interaction with people. They just want to be here. He married my mother, and they had me.” She goes, “Come on. Really?” She doesn’t believe any of this.
Later on, they broke up. He also says to her, “They’re telepathic. They know what we’re talking about now. I know they can, I know they’re paying attention to what — at least my father is. My mother has no abilities, but my father — they’re paying attention to what we’re saying and doing here right now, and they have that ability.”
She completely dismisses it. She thinks he’s nuts. She goes, “What about the pendant?” He goes, “My father brought that with him. That’s why it’s not from here.” She goes, “Get out of here. Come on.” So, they broke up.
Here’s where it gets interesting. She had had books. He had an apartment nearby here. She left some books and novels, she was a big reader, and left something she wanted at Bud’s house. She made a mental note to herself that she didn’t tell Bud.
She goes, “I’m just going to stop over, because I don’t want to bump into Bud,” because he was living at the time with his parents. She goes, “I’m just going to stop over his parents’ house to pick the books up.” She drives to his father’s house.
His father’s waiting on the porch, holding the books as she walks up the driveway. He’s standing there with her books. She goes, “I just came by to get my books, I hope I didn’t disturb you.” She goes, “No, here they are.” He really liked her, and he says, “Sit down for a minute.”
He goes, “Please don’t. I know Bud’s told you things about me. He’s not crazy, so I hope you’re not breaking up with him because you think he’s crazy. He’s not.” She’s stunned that he would admit that.
He goes, “I wish you all the luck in the world. I know Bud’s got some issues with drinking and stuff, but I wish everything worked out. That’s fine, but we really liked you, Gloria, and we wish you well.”
Stunned, she walks back to the car with her books. Then two years later, she wonders, because she knew they moved away. They sold the house and moved away. She wondered out loud, “I wonder whatever happened with Bud’s parents?”
The next day she said, “I got this urge to go to the bookstore. I went to a bookstore, and I went into the travel section, and I went into a book on Bed and Breakfasts of the Eastern Seaboard. I went to the book, and I have no idea why I went to the bookstore, and I went to travel. The Bed and Breakfasts of the Eastern Seaboard book was just published.”
She’s thumbing through it, and she goes right to a page where it has a bed and breakfast, and listed under the picture of the house is Bud’s parents’ name. She realizes that she asked a question in her mind about the father, and the father answered her question by directing her to where the answer was.
She goes, “It’s the only possibility, based on, I did not want to go to a bookstore. I had no business going to the travel section, and I did not have any business taking a book off the shelf called ‘Bed and Breakfasts of the Eastern Seaboard,’ and going right to the page. I know I was directed to do that.”
They never were in contact again, and that’s my story. It’s weird. You can’t make a movie out of it, but it’s my weird Monmouth story.
Ziobro: Gloria and Bud were both members of the class of ’76?
LeBoeuf: No, Gloria was a year ahead of me. She graduated a year ahead of me, and then went on. She was here for her Master’s, I remember. She’s actually a friend and a client of mine. She lives in Morristown.
I remember she was born in ’51, I was born in ’53, she’s two years ahead of me. She stayed on campus to go for her Master’s. She didn’t know what she wanted to do, and she was going out, at the time, with my best friend, so she got her Master’s here in business.
She was a real down-to-earth person. She would never smoke pot, never do drugs. Maybe a glass of wine. No-nonsense, business. To get a Master’s in business, you’ve got to be down-to-earth a little bit, and she was the one who told me the story, and she absolutely believes it.
She did not believe it for a long time, but after meeting with his father, picking up the book thing, and the stone thing with the jeweler’s. She gave the stone back to him, by the way, because Bud asked for it back.
When they broke up, he goes, “I’ve really got to ask you for that back,” because apparently the father wanted her to take it back. That’s an interesting story.
Ziobro: Yeah. Wow, that’s a new Monmouth memory for the file. Anything else you would like to add, that we have not covered?
LeBoeuf: Nope. I don’t live in an insane asylum currently. [laughter] That’s it. I just liked that story because you just don’t know what to make of it. I had a great time at Monmouth. Even though it was only four years, it was such a, they called it “density of life.”
It was so emotionally and growth dense a time, as it is with most people that have a good college experience. Intellectually mind-blowing, just expanded me. Love of history, love of art, making really good friends, and of course exposing me to Wilson Hall.
Which I ideally love gathering more and more information about the people who live there, and how they squandered their wealth to our benefit. I mean, they built the estate. The building and it’s furnishings cost then about $10.5 million, which today is about $134 million.
If you had to do it again, right now it would cost $134 million to put together what they did. They sold it for $100 in 1956. $100, and their recklessness was Monmouth’s great, great fortune.
Ziobro: All right, well thank you