That first summer at Mary Harden Baylor, three or four of us students walked two miles every Sunday afternoon in the blazing hot sun, to the poor farm to have worship services for the poor old people who had to live there, because their families could not or would not take care of them. These were the days before Medicare. After the service, we went to their rooms to visit, write letters, or read to them or just sit and visit with them. Next to the last Sunday we were there, we took fruit to them which we had purchased out of our personal very meager funds.
The Story of My Life - Page 6
(by Loma (Groom) Harrison)
We took each person an orange, an apple, and a banana. Our last Sunday there, one old man walked all the way to the pasture gate at the road, to meet us, and with joy in his heart and a big smile, he gave us the orange which we had given him the week before. Since their rations were so poor, this just broke our hearts. Tears come to my eyes yet, every time I think of it yet.
At age twenty, I had my first teaching job as Principal of a two-teacher school at Hill City, Texas, a few miles from Ft. Worth. My mother's brother, Henry Parker, had to resign from the school board in order for me to get the job. This is the community where my mother was reared, in a beautiful two-story house made of native white stone, which my grandfather James Tucker Parker and his two sons, Tom and Henry, built. Recently the house has been designated the high honor of a Texas Historical Monument, by the Texas Historical Society.
My salary was $60.00 per month for six months of the year. Half of the students in the school were my kinfolk, the Parkers, and the other half were mostly the Moores. I taught all subjects, grades six through ten, never dreaming that I couldn’t do it. I took an armload of books home every night and stayed a chapter ahead of the students. At mid-term, my brother James came to live with me and he finished a whole year of eighth grade studies in one semester, making all A's from a very strict teacher.
The only discipline problem I had that year was that a little girl cheated on a test. I kept her after school, talked to her, she cried and promised never to cheat again---the problem was solved Charlie Moore, an eighth grade boy, came early every morning and built a fire in the great big black stove, if we needed it. He never received a cent for his work and it was years later that I realized that he should have been paid. I played basketball with the students at recess and noon and went across the road for lunch with my Aunt Lou Young, dad's sister, with whom I lived. Many of the students that I taught that year are still my friends, after nearly a lifetime.
It was at Hill City that I had my first "steady" boy friend, Horace Neeley. Along with other couples from the community, we spent many Sunday afternoons on the beautiful Paluxy River, going "Kodaking”. Since there was no radio, no television, and no movies, we had to make our own amusement. Nearly every Saturday night, the young people in our community and nearby communities, met at different homes and had what we called "Play Parties", and we always played the same game, "Tag". A couple held hands in the middle of the floor, while another person tagged someone to catch him and be his partner for the next set. It was a "proper" way to put your arm around your partner's waist, and move skipping and tripping to the home made music of guitars, and fiddles playing the dance tunes of the day. Only the rowdy, drinking crowd, in our opinion, went to dances. My cousin, Jim Parker, took as many of us as he could carry in his "car", which consisted of homemade seats attached to the chassis of a Model-T Ford. It was great fun.
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