1. Hello and thanks for agreeing to be interviewed! I have always called you Patra. What do most people call you? Do you think you are the only person in the world with your name?
Most people call me Cleo, probably because it’s a lot shorter than Cleopatra, but some still call me Cleopatra. The long name is bad enough, but then combine that will Kleinsasser and I need a longer line to write on for my drivers license. I don’t know of anyone else named Cleopatra. I would venture to guess that there aren’t too many. Lee has other names for me, but I probably shouldn’t mention them here.
2. Is it true that you are related to famed Viking Jim Kleinsasser?
According to Lee, he’s related to “cousin Jimmy”.
3. What are the best and worst parts of being a music teacher at Miller School?
The best part is probably being able to do what I like – play piano and teach music. Just this year, I’ve gone from teaching jh/hs to teaching elementary. Since elementary kids can’t drive, there aren’t any after-school activities, so I am done with school at 4:00. That’s really nice compared to having a lot of after school activities for many, many years. The worst part is inservice. I would rather have a day of school than sit through a day of inservice.
4. We were very thankful you were able to jump in and play piano on a moment’s notice at our wedding. How did you get to be interested in playing piano?
Some of my friends played piano, and I wanted to play, too. Mom and Dad didn’t have any money to buy a piano, so it took a lot of begging, but finally Dad bought the neighbor’s piano for $100.
5. What did you do for fun as a kid living on the farm outside Carpenter?
I liked to play piano. I eventually took lessons from teachers in Huron and also took organ lessons. Then there were always chores. I can remember sweeping grain bins, ear-tagging calves, bringing lunch to the field for your grandpa Dick and your dad, cleaning the garage, picking up idiot cubes, all that fun stuff that farm kids do. Picking rock was my least favorite.
6. Are you excited for your daughter to get married and have kids so you can be a grandma?
Not really. She seems to be happy being single and that’s ok with me. I think she has a very nice boyfriend and as long as they’re happy, I’m happy.
7. You graduated from DSU a few years before I enrolled there. What are your fondest memories of college in Madison?
Well, I was a non-traditional student, so I didn’t really do a lot of things on campus. Diane from DeSmet and I drove together most of the time. The funniest thing was probably that one morning her husband, Troy, went out and started her car for her. What a nice guy, right? Well, don’t ask me how, but you could take the key out of the ignition and it would still run, which he did. We got to Madison, and Diane realized she couldn’t shut off her car, so we left it run for a couple hours, went to a couple classes and came home early.
8. What is something funny that I probably do not know about my dad/your brother?
I can’t really think of anything funny. I do remember riding to school with him. He was 6 years ahead of me in school, so I thought it was pretty cool to ride to school in a car instead of on the bus. I remember him listening to his 8-tracks of Aerosmith and The Cars.
9. What is your biggest day-to-day concern currently?
Probably whether to have a fuzzy navel or a beer after school. I try not to get too wrapped up in day-to-day concerns. I just take one day at a time.
10. Thanks for participating in the interview! Any closing remarks?
Thanks for including me in your interviews!