Boulder's Oldest and Boldest Buffs: Betty Hoover and Peggy Coppom

Betty Hoover & Peggy Coppom: Iconic CU-Boulder Twins

Peggy Fitzgerald Coppom and Betty Fitzgerald Hoover are the two beloved and iconic twins here at CU-Boulder. I had the opportunity to sit down with them and talk about women in their college days and women now. Although the twins only attended the University of Colorado Boulder for one year in 1943, they are still CU’s #1 fans!

What was it like for women when you graduated from Boulder High?

Peggy: There were not a lot of boys around here because they were going into the service. World War II had just begun when we were seniors in high school (they called Fairview students “the farmers” but it wasn’t until 1960 when Fairview was established). We were cheerleaders at Boulder High! It was our claim to fame! They only had two boys and two girls at every high school (no wonder they constantly carry their gold poms to the football and basketball games!!).

Betty and Peggy: Go back, go back, go back to the woods! You haven’t, you haven’t, you haven’t got the goods! You haven’t got the rhythm and you haven’t got the jazz! You haven’t got the team that Boulder has!! (absolutely adorable cheer they performed for me).

Betty: Well anyway! We both worked for awhile out of high school and we made .35/hour. Our parents didn’t have the money to put us through college.

Peggy: Well bread was .10 cents a loaf and sirloin steak was .69 cents a pound. It was all relevant. We could buy hamburgers for a dime in Longmont! And they were good. I remember one time a boy asked me to go to a matinee movie and I thought, who has money to go to a picture show? That’s what we called it!  Well, he bought me a candy bar and I thought oh my gosh he’s got a lot of money (we laughed pretty hard after this). It was the depression years and our family had enough money to put food on the table, but we didn’t have very much. Everything was rationed from food to clothes and cooking ware.

Some of our friends were getting married right out of high school before their men went off to war and became war brides. A lot of our friends went off to college after high school.

 

What was it like to be a woman at CU in 1943?

Betty: A lot of girls were going to college, it wasn’t unheard of. I think World War II was the catalyst in making women attend college. All of their husbands were dying in the war, so they realized that it was important to have an education to earn a living.

Peggy: There were not a lot of options for women, they could be nurses, secretaries, or school teachers. Today they can do anything! We would have probably become school teachers if we stayed in school, we just didn’t have the motivation. We didn’t think it was all that important at the time, it’s a shame.

Betty: There were also some women doctors, but it wasn’t common. Those who wanted to had to pass strenuous tests. We also didn’t have the child care facilities women have today, so it was harder to find somebody to watch the children. Women had to go to work in factories and other places because the men were gone and they had to support the war efforts!

Peggy: Yes they did, but women were very respected at the time. There was not a lot of bad language surrounding women.

Betty: Oh, and sororities were popular then too! We attended rush parties and a lot of them chased after us but we couldn’t afford it.

 

What’s the best part about being a twin?

Betty: Well I don’t know what it’s like to not be a twin!! I have someone to talk to!

Peggy: I always have a confidant, a best friend. People always asks us if we give each other presents on our birthday and I say why would I do that? It’s like giving a present to myself!!

 

Is it hard to find two of the same outfits?

Betty: We ALWAYS liked to match. Our mother would try to dress us differently when we were younger and we did not like that. I’m a twin so that’s why I like to match!

Peggy: We stopped matching when we got married, it would have been way too much work to try and match when we were apart. After we became widows and started spending more time together we gradually started matching again, it just happened.

Betty: We have our own identities, we just like to match.

 

Who inspires you?

Betty & Peggy: Our mother and father. We are grateful to have had such great parents. Our mother was the perfect lady, always. She went to work at the Remington factory in 1943 and our dad was a butcher at Safeway.

 

What’s one piece of advice you’d like to give young college women?

Betty: The 3 P’s: pray, patience, perseverance. This will help you get through anything!

Peggy: Respect yourself and others and preserve in your education. If you respect yourself, you will gain the respect from others. Make the best out of everything and always make people feel better about themselves.

Betty: And do not ever compare yourself to somebody else because it will either make you feel better or worse about yourself.

Peggy: When Betty and I were younger we came home crying because a girl was being mean to us and we told our mom that we had a plan to get her back and she looked right at us and said, "well now you are no better than she is" and that stuck with me my whole life!

 

What is one thing that surprises you about women nowadays?

Peggy: I’m not surprised at much after living this long!!! Mostly their language and behavior.Women are supposed to be respected and be good role models to everybody.

Betty: They don’t want men to open the doors for them either, it’s a very different world today.

 

Last question, what draws the two of you to CU sports?

Betty: We grew up in a family that loved sports. Everybody attended Friday night football in town, It was like the social life for everybody. Our brother was also an athlete.

Peggy: We started going to CU games in 1940. Our husbands would attend more often because we would stay at home with the kids. In 1958 we bought our season tickets and we have never missed a CU home game, well not that I can remember.

Betty: Well I went to the hospital during a home game but I remember listening to the game in in the hospital.

Peggy: Everything is planned around football season! We can’t have a wedding during a CU home game!

 

Interviewing Betty and Peggy was the highlight of my week! While our conversations often got off topic, it was very entertaining to watch them argue and try to agree on an answer. It definitely made me wish I had a twin sister to have as a best friend forever! These CU “twins” are the most charming and comical women you’ll meet! Make sure you stop them next time you see them as they love to talk to anybody and they’ll surely have something interesting to say! As for me, I’m excited to return to their home for their next post home game party!