The Grahams’ of Cochran County – Chapter 65
The summer of 1953 was used up in some college credits at Texas Tech University. I needed some more foreign language. They had an interesting course in German that I signed up for. Made a C grade I think but it did get one of the requirements for medical school off the plate. I also took a course in memory training. I knew that I was going to have to take Organic Chemistry and this would help me in that regard. I even found a relief job at the Lindsey Theater and this was a job I dreamed about when I was a lowly projectionist in Morton, Texas before going into the Army. I sent all of my college credits to West Texas State and they accepted me as a Junior pre-med student. I was disappointed in the Federal Government because they had not passed a bill for the Korean Veterans at that point. The Korean Armistice had been signed in July and it looked like to me that they could have helped us GI’s out but Washington moves very slow I found out.
A week or so before my enrollment at West Texas State I packed my bags and stayed a couple of days with Leola and Gilbert Ford in Canyon, Texas. I looked for a theater projectionist job but they were unionized in Canyon and Amarillo. There was no way I could break into their union ranks so I got a hotel room in Amarillo and took a test for my chauffeurs license so I could drive a taxi. I still needed extra money to make payments on the car. I enrolled in all the appropriate courses to get my pre-med work done and started attending the functions at the Church of Christ Bible Chair. In the first function I attended there, the Bible Chair Instructor had an introductory session. He had us all sit in chairs in a circular fashion. Some of the old hands there knew what was about to happen but I was totally unaware. There was a scramble to get the first few chairs. I was close to the last chair in line. The next instruction from the leader was to the first person in line to say their name. Then the second person was to say their name and the first persons name and so on and so forth. There was a good looking young lady about in the fifth chair who said her name was Johnnie Marie Pavlovsky. My memory course was helping me to memorize these names as they repeated over and over. When it became my turn I was able to say all the names and I found out years later that the pretty lady had leaned over to her next door in chair neighbor and ask “who is that smart aleck”.
After classes started it did not take me long to realize that the taxi driving at night was incompatible with all the study that I was required to do under Dr. Whaley. I think I lasted about 2 weeks or maybe three and decided that I needed to get a job and pay off the car and build up some cash in order to continue my higher education. The chauffeurs license stood me in good stead. One of the first jobs that interested me was working for the Western Company in Odessa, Texas. I knew a little about the company and I applied there. They put me to work in my old stomping grounds. It was a hard job. We would drive these trucks loaded with acid out to an oil well site and pump the acid in the well to break up the formations. Sometimes we were on the job 36 hours at one site. Being sleep deprived and driving back to Odessa was a hazardous trip. The drivers were on call 24 hours per day. Good money but brutal.