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The Story of My Life - Page 11
(by Loma (Groom) Harrison)

One summer while I was living in Pampa, I went back to Mary Hardin Baylor , to finish some courses that I had started there. I met and dated Orie Brummett, an engineer who was working on a project near Belton. The sister of Ruth Cox (my closest friend at Horace Mann) introduced us and she and her family and Orie and I did some interesting things together, including a trip to San Antonio to visit the Old Spanish Missions and the nice park there. Orie and I fell in love and we walked hand in hand in the moonlight through the beautiful flowers and trees in the park. At one place where we stopped for refreshments, Orie had the harpist dedicate a song to us. He came to Pampa several times to see me and we became engaged. It was the biggest mistake of my life that I did not marry him. We had a misunderstanding because I thought that he should finish his college degree and I wanted to finish mine. After Joe Harrison and I married, I got a letter from Orie wanting to patch up our differences. He married and the last account that I had of him and his family, he had a very successful construction business in Beeville, Texas.

Those years in Pampa were busy, happy ones. I loved my work and my activities, but most of all I loved the Pampa people. I made lots of friends; in fact I met my future husband there. I gained confidence in myself socially, as well as in my work, and for the first time in my life, I felt really successful. But....career wise, I was ready to move on.

I accepted a position teaching music and social studies in an elementary school in the Country Club District of Ft. Worth, Texas. I was required to have a home room of about twenty students who were spoiled, poor little rich children. I had always been a good disciplinarian, but nothing in my training or experience prepared me for what I was to face here. In 1936, Ft. Worth was an experimental school district, working under the direction of Columbia University. Dr. Bruener organized and directed the whole School System in the new techniques of the Progressive Educational philosophy and methods. Some of the ideas were good, such as to motivate the children to learn, but this school was off on a tangent of letting a child do what he wanted to do when he wanted, and chaos prevailed. The students would not follow instructions and even the "good" little girls were horrid.

On November the first, I took over a fifth grade class of twenty-one students that were completely out of control. The former teacher could not stay in the room with the students unless the Principal was there. At first, anything I asked the students to do, they would snarl at me and tell me they were not going to do it. I tried to follow all the rules set down for me and follow all the suggestions from the Principal and all the Supervisors: such as, nothing negative, rewards, not punishment, a positive attitude, never, never say "no" and for sure never penalize anyone. Things got so bad that even the Principal suggested that I should paddle the worst boy in the room, with her in the basement, observing. This I did. One day I was called to the telephone and saw on the Principal's desk that she was sending a report to the Superintendent giving me a "bad rating" because of the way I had handled the problem. Well, that was too much! I was furious and decided to take things in my own hands. The next morning, I came into the room with fire in my eyes and told them that the first one who stepped out of line, would "catch it". In a few minutes, the ring leader was rude and I descended on him so fiercely, he thought that his time had come. I took him to the adjoining work room and shook him severely. He came back in the room blanched with fear. That did it. The students knew from that minute on, who the teachers was. Learning resulted the rest of the year and the students and I became friends.

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