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47 It was ironic that one of the principal reasons Mother moved us to Austin was to be near a first-class public university, and that I would then go away to college . For most of my early Austin years, I thought I would eventually attend the University of Texas. Starting in the seventh grade I went to University Junior High, which was attached, as a student teaching facility, to UT. I sold cokes and popcorn at UT football games, which got better with each year of Darrell Royal’s long and illustrious career, starting in 1956. I came to love the UT colors, orange and white. But there was family pull on my father’s side. My father had gone to Texas A&M, as had his uncles and other members of the family. Mother’s alma mater was TWU, the sister school of A&M. I also developed the normal desire to go away from home to college. In my junior year of high school, my great-uncle Jim Forsyth had given me a summer job in Houston with the promise I could work there every summer through college —if that college were to be A&M. Family ties and tuition funding prevailed. I started in the summer of 1958 at the Texas A&M campus in Junction. That fall I enrolled at A&M in College Station. Leaving Austin was mitigated by the fact that my dear friends Lee Mayfield and Amor Forwood, as well as other Austin High classmates, were headed across the Brazos River to Aggieland. Like all freshmen Aggies, then and now called “fish,” we had to say good-bye to home and girlfriends until Thanksgiving. Lee and I settled in as roommates, started classes and military drills. Then an all-male military institution, it was rich in tradition but short on social life until junior and senior years. It was rigorous, particularly since Lee and I had to work at the mess hall to earn our meals. That meant getting up before dawn, serving breakfast, heading back to our room to study, attending classes, serving lunch, drilling, going to more classes, serving dinner, then studying until lights out. We College CHAPTER 6 A FREEING OF THE MIND AND SPIRIT 48 had to do a great deal of silly things in between, like stand at attention if the three-legged mascot dog, Tripod, needed to pee. He would lean against a fish for support and do his duty. I avoided that dog like the plague, often crossing the street if I saw him coming. Nonetheless we had fun, making it up as we went along. A great deal of it centered on bedeviling a sadistic sophomore who did everything possible to run us off. He went over the line to the point that his peers looked the other way when Mayfield and I filled his room with live chickens, heated its door knob, and flooded it. We gave as good as we got—and more. We also went to football games, but the Aggies of ’58 didn’t have a good team. Bear Bryant had left after their great 1957 season for Alabama. We had to stand during the entire game as members of the 12th Man Corps. All of that could have been meaningful had we had dates and if the team had been better, because when the Aggies score, members of the 12th Man Corps kiss their dates. But dates were a rare thing and the team didn’t score often. Besides, I was going steady with a girl in Austin. As the fall crept by, her absence was a drag. With each passing week my letters to her became more explicit in describing how I foresaw our reunion at Thanksgiving. Her answers turned up the heat. In the meantime the team played Southern Methodist (SMU) in Dallas. Freshmen could go on road games and have dates come along, particularly with the “Tessies” of TWU. A friend from Denton had gotten me a blind date. I picked her up at her dorm. We went to Dallas and to the game. We drove back to Denton and I dropped her off at the dorm. And that was it. Not even a peck of a kiss at the game or dorm door. Mayfield and I went back to A&M late on Sunday. It was a couple of weeks before Thanksgiving and the thought of going to Austin and seeing my girlfriend had reached fever pitch. But I would see her first in a week—I...


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