Monday, April 27, 2015

War Eagle!

A friend of mine asked me why I hated the Tide. I replied that I did not truly hate the University of Alabama, but the anti-Tide attitude rubbed off on me when I became a part of Auburn. Then the friend asked, “How did you end up at Auburn University anyway?” I told him to read my next entry here, thus, the following explanation.
When we got out of the service, my friend Kenneth and I were employed building 400 by 40 foot chicken houses. One summer when we were doing this, Kenneth started singing in the “Town and Gown” choir at a nearby college and one Saturday invited me to come along. The rehearsal was to be that evening but we got to campus in the early afternoon. He took me over to the music building and introduced me to the choir director, who noticed my bass voice and said, “I could sure use your voice in the college choir. I assume you are here for orientation?” I did not know orientation was going on, but I expressed an interest and left there that day signed up for courses for fall semester. So did Kenneth.
We did not know how we were going to make it financially, but that college had ample opportunities for working such things out and I later found a flexible-hour job at a builder’s supply. My step-father was a carpenter, so it helped that I knew all the “pennies” of nails and all the dimensions of lumber. Kenneth and I roomed together in the cheapest dorm and, like good military veterans, attended all our classes and studied a reasonable amount.
I honored my commitment to sing in the college choir and I am so glad I did, for that is where I met my wife. She was ahead of me in college since I was a late-bloomer veteran and she was most assuredly ahead of me in musical skills, but we got along very well. The choir had the great opportunity to sing as the chorus in the opera “Carmen” in a nearby metropolitan area, and we did most of our courting on the bus and in the wings of the theater. It did not take us long to form a bond so strong that it became a lifelong commitment. We got married spring semester and the dean of men offered us a job as “dorm parents” in one of the men’s residence halls. The position gave us a spacious apartment, utilities paid, took care of both our tuition and fees, gave us a discount on books, one meal a day at the cafeteria and $50 cash per month. We were sitting pretty.

We kept that going until my wife graduated a year before I did. When she landed a teaching job in a nearby community, we quit the dorm business and I went to work in the English department. My senior year, I took the “Graduate Record Examination” and started looking for a graduate school. Auburn University offered a fellowship and assistantship possibilities that made graduate school possible, so……War Eagle!

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