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The Story of My Life - Page 8
(by Loma (Groom) Harrison)

I dismissed classes for a long recess, and I just sat there and cried.† I had never in my life been consciously been cruel to anyone.† The two boys who left, went as far as the home of one of the boys.† The father, who was there, told them "You know you deserve punishment.† You are old enough to quit school, but go back, take your punishment and leave with a clean slate".† They came back, took their punishment and stayed in school till spring plowing time. We had a good learning situation and of course won all the athletic competition. I still canít believe all this.

The school building, which was also the community center and the church, consisted of two rooms on one side and a long assembly room on the other with a hall between. There was a small stage on one end of the assembly room with no furniture or equipment in it. To raise money to buy screens for the building and to buy stage and playground equipment, I decided to enlist the community to help by giving a play. I chose the play, directed it, and produced and advertised it. Aly, my room mate, was to have had the lead in the play, but because the male lead in the play asked to date me instead of her, she got mad and quit. So, of course I took the part along with my other duties. There was not enough time left before we were scheduled to present the play, for some one else to learn the lines and the stage business. We charged admission to the play, and gave it in many adjoining communities.

Another thing we did to raise money, we had an ice cream social and charged for it. The people donated the materials and the labor, and to freeze the ice cream, we used packed hail which had accumulated in the ravines after a large hail storm. We made enough money to buy playground equipment, curtains for the stage, screens for the windows, and had enough money left to buy playground equipment for the next year. Looking back, I marvel that things went so well.

Again I paid school debts and saved money to attend Mary Hardin Baylor to continue my long, long road to a degree in music. It took ten years. I could now pay for my voice and piano lessons, and I took all the required courses in music. One summer, my room mate, Loua Banks, and I had charge of the College Chapel religious assembly which were held once a week. She played the violin and the piano and I led the assembly in singing hymns. We had guest musicians and speakers, but we decided on the themes and gave speeches ourselves, most of the time. She played violin solos and I sang solos part of the time. It was excellent training for me to prepare for my chosen field, choral conducting, group singing, and teaching public school music.

After being a school Principal for two years, I was able to pursue the ambition of my life, to teach music in the public schools. For the next two years, I taught music in all the grades and choral music in high school in Sonora, Texas, near San Angelo. It was the only school in one of the richest counties in the Country, and at that time, there were more millionaires per capita in Sonora County than any other county in the United States. The ranchers had homes in town where they lived on week days through the school year, but the family spent most week ends on the ranch. Since I taught most of the students in school, I was invited to spend many week ends with many of the families in their palatial ranch homes. For the first time in my life, I went deer hunting and varmint hunting with dogs. We rode horseback all night and stopped at cow camps to visit and eat pinto beans and cornbread and to drink coffee with the cowboys, at midnight on the range.

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