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The Story of My Life - Page 5
(by Loma (Groom) Harrison)

In the fall of 1923, the family stopped at Uncle Willie Groom's farm near Chillicothe, Texas to pick cotton to make money to help dad go back to school in Ft. Worth, to get his Bachelor's  Degree in Theology.  Since I was not physically able to work, (I had my first attack with an ovarian cyst tumor, which later caused me to lose my first baby) dad got me a place to stay in the home of the pastor of the Baptist Church in Chillicothe, Dr. Clinton Lancaster and his wife Stella.  I stayed with them for one semester and made good grades in English, History, Algebra, and Spanish, even though I entered school four weeks late.  Since they believed in me, they had the greatest influence on my life of anyone, and became my dearest friends of a lifetime. They encouraged me to go to college, helped me get scholarships, signed my notes for money to go to school, and helped me get teaching jobs as long as I needed them.  I made my home with them for holidays and vacations and they accepted me as one of the family.                

After that one semester that I lived with the Lancasters, I joined the family in Ft. Worth.  The two years that we lived on Seminary Hill, dad went to school.  I went to Central High School, in downtown Ft. Worth, and graduated with honors, Magna Cum Laude, with an average of 97%, in a class of 425 students.

I worked in people's homes to make money for clothes, street car fares, and lunch money.  I learned to "make do" and I worked very hard.  There was no time or money for nice clothes and for me to do the usual high school activities, such as go to football games, parties, etc. but I had many friends which I made at church, and on the long rides every day going back and forth from Seminary Hill to Central High School in downtown Ft. Worth.  Most of my friends also had fathers in school and did not have much more than I did, so I did not feel "left out".  Dad received his Bachelor of Theology Degree, the same year that I graduated from high school, 1925.

In the fall of 1925, I began, what turned out to be a life time of borrowing money to go to school in the summer and teaching  a year to pay it back.  With the help of Dr. and Mrs. Lancaster, I was able to get a loan and a job so that I could attend Mary Harden Baylor College in Belton, Texas.  My job consisted of a "scholarship" , which was to work two hours in the dormitory offices, and a "voice scholarship”, which was to work two hours a day in the home of my voice teacher, Mrs. Hillyer. She was a lovely, charming woman, and she had a very great influence on my life.  It was she who encouraged me to major in music, even though I did not have the money to do it.  I was a Home Economic major my first college year, hoping to acquire skills in sewing, cooking, and interior decorating, but soon found out that I had no talent at all for any of them.  I went one full year and a summer and received a teacher's certificate to teach in secondary school.   

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