Interview date: December 4, 2017
Interviewee: Margaret Primavera
Interviewer/Transcriber: Ralph Primavera
Summarized by: Ralph Primavera
Edited by: Michael Achimov
This interview with Margaret Primavera (Margaret Vinci at the time) was delightful for many reasons. The first reason is because she is my mother, and it was a pleasure talking to her. The second reason is because she told us all about her experience at Monmouth University from a commuter student’s perspective in the mid 1980s. Margaret Primavera was born at Monmouth Medical Center in 1963. She grew up in Long Branch, New Jersey with her three sisters and one brother. She explained how her parents worked multiple jobs just to put food on the table. She grew up in a very old school Catholic and Italian household.
After attending Our Lady Star of the Sea Elementary School, she moved on to Red Bank Catholic where she graduated in 1981. After graduating from Red Bank Catholic, Margaret had no choice but to attend Monmouth College, because her parents did not give her the option to go any place else. Her family was very poor so she had to pay for college on her own, which she worked very hard to do. However, Margaret happily attended Monmouth and thoroughly enjoyed her experience at Monmouth College, as it was known back in the 1980s. She was an education major with a concentration in Psychology, which she loved because she really enjoyed learning about what makes people tick and why people think the way they do. Margaret did not have much time for extra curricular activities since she worked full time as a United States Postal woman while going to school full time, as well. She did however, join the cheerleading squad senior year, but quit because they made freshman the captains. Margaret enjoyed studying in the student center whenever she could because she wanted to feel like she was getting a college experience the best she could. Back when Margaret was in high school, she was Red Bank Catholic’s specialty twirler. She twirled two fire batons; which she absolutely loved.
One of Margaret’s favorite memories of going to Monmouth University was when she had to volunteer her time at a retirement living home for the elderly in Neptune. She explained how she would talk to many of the seniors, have dance parties, and do make-up with the older women who loved every minute of it. Even after the semester was over, she would go back and visit the elderly on her own time because she loved them very much. She has had some great experiences with professors, as well as some not so great experiences which she explains in detail during the interview. Her favorite classes included zoology and a few of her elementary education courses.
A few of the things Margaret would change about Monmouth University would be the lowering of tuition, and also the parking situation, even though it was much better back then. She explained her disappointment for the way professors teach their classes and how students must learn to teach themselves the majority of the time, although not all the time. Margaret was very happy that three of her children currently attend Monmouth University, because they all live at home. Her fourth son is in seventh grade and attends Holy Cross Elementary School in Rumson.
Margaret takes great pride in her substitute teaching job at Rumson Country Day, which she just started in October of 2017. She was extremely excited to explain how her students call her “Mrs. Springtime,” because many of the younger children do not know how to pronounce Primavera. She is very passionate about her job and enjoys going to work whenever they need her. One of the most important aspects that can be taken from this interview with Margaret is the fact that she truly loves learning new things and school in general. It is obvious in this interview that Margaret loved going to Monmouth University and getting her bachelors degree in Education. She says that no matter how old you are; you can never stop learning new things.
The majority of this interview has to do with the importance of family in her life, and how her most important job was to be a mother first and foremost. She was extremely happy and energetic during the interview and loved to laugh any chance she could. It is worthwhile listening to this piece of oral history because it shows the life of a Monmouth University graduate years after she attended the school.