The Early Generation Taylor of Saint Joe

The Early Generation Taylor of Saint Joe

Erwin Luu, Staff Writer

Tremendous changes had happened in society and especially from the old Saint Joe High School to the new one. 72 year old Margaret Taylor has experienced and saw these changes as she can provide us a deeper insight what was life like in from the past to the present.

January 1947, the dark years where she was born in Germany after World War II ended, grew up in a very humble life and encountered many sad losses as she grew up. Her parents experienced many hardships during the Great War and was very fortunate in avoiding many conflicted situations and a much needed new home in America.

My grandfather served during the first World War and I didn’t get to see him. My parents struggled with the corrupted German society and blamed each other. Immigrating to America to South Bend in 1952, living there was hard due to the prejudicial view against the Germans, but I was very grateful with my memories of my parents back then and how they took care of me.

— Margaret Taylor


High School

Growing up into high school, things during her time were very different back then than now. Tuition cost $100 and the technology, environment, and social structure was set up very differently towards students and staffs. “You had only classes that are made up of only boys at the north end and the classes that are made up of only girls in the south end,” says Margaret. “The only time you would get a chance to see them being integrated was during lunch but that’s very rare.”

Even teachers were separated by gender to teach only boys or only girls. Male lay teachers, brothers, and priests taught the boys while female lay teachers and nuns taught the girls. The boys side got their own principal and the girls side got their own principal as well. “I think our principal during that time was Sister Mary of Good Counsel,” she recalls. “And for the boys side I think it was Brother James Linscott.”

How classes were structured back then (1964).

Sports and clubs are still very similar to the present day. She participated in drama club and a very unique club called cheer blocking, which is basically a mini version of cheerleading. “We would line up behind the cheerleaders on the bleachers and create our own chants and claps. The audience would follow what we did to support our team,” she recalls. Football was very dominant during her time at high school as she remembered during her senior year, “football became state champions in 1964 and the whole Saint Joe student roared.” It was one of her most memorable moment during her time at Saint Joe.

Traveling was very different back then and sometimes it was very harsh. Most of the students at Saint Joe took the public transportation buses from home to school and back, and staying after school “was a dilemma”. If you miss the bus going home, you would have to walk to downtown to catch a different bus.

Saint Joe students catching their public bus transportation

“Unfortunately I was caught in this dilemma, so I  didn’t take much clubs back then,” she says. “Luckily, junior year in high school, I had a friend that I carpooled with so I didn’t have to stress about it.” Having a carpool friend allowed her to work at Notre Dame in the cafeteria and since it was an all boy school, she gets paid 5 cents extra as well.

One tragic thing that did happened during her high school year was the Studebaker business shutting down in 1963. Lots of students had to leave Saint Joe and attend public schools because of their families’ income were based off of the Studebaker’s business.

Margaret Kutrowatz senior year photo (top middle)
Margaret Kutrowatz senior year photo (top middle)

After High School

She attended South Bend College of Commerce and studied for her degree in business. During college, she also focused on keypunching as well and keypunching back then was underlooked. It was a well paid salary job and she worked in keypunching for First Source Banks and Clark’s Equipment.

Her mother passed away during her time at college, but she was very fortunate to have a boyfriend that supported her, Larry Taylor, and later got married. She continued to keypunch for at least 11 more years until she had children and stopped working. She participated in many sewing projects and fundraisers that helped Our Lady of Hungary Church in South Bend while she was raising her kids and continued to participate in these projects today.

“My knowledge in sewing during high school and college helped me support the Church I love,” says Margaret. “The priest and I had different viewpoints on art that complimented each other, and it’s so awesome designing the mass and Church together.”

After a little break from not working, she found a job at Pets Cemetery Association and trans-design. These two jobs helped her gain knowledge of decorations, designs, and creativity, which would later helped her form a decision on starting her own business in interior designing. Starting a business “was a wild adventure” and there were some risks involve, but “if you’re very passionate of what you’re pursuing, you will find success” and she accomplished it as her business still stands today.

She specialized in window treatment designs, but some other works that are involved in her business are floor arrangements, wall designs, furniture placements, and other historic designs too like Greek, Southern, and Renaissance. Her interior design business is involved with a company named Merchandise Mart in order to prosper. She and her client get their products like windows, furnitures, and tables from Merchandise Mart and in return, she gets paid from her client to help set up the design in the client’s home.

The housing booms in South Bend was an excellent opportunity to show my talent and creativity in interior designs, especially window treatments. I enjoy the finished design in the end and see my clients happy.

— Margaret Taylor

During her spare time, she enjoys a lot of outdoor activities like outdoor walks, hiking, and gardening, so that’s why she chose to live near the Rums Village Park. She square danced a lot with her husband too, but unfortunately her husband passed away on December 27, 2018. That moment made her reflect deeper in life and made her value gratitude and love God even more.

“God had taken care of me and the rest of my family. Without Him, I don’t even know where I would be. I’m very grateful of Him for taking care of my family and for what He has done in life. People should concentrate on religion and their spiritual self more, not the materialistic world or else it will cause evilness like racism and political fights. That’s my advice for future generations.”