THE GRAHAM’S OF COCHRAN COUNTY – CHAPTER 62 (cont’d)
We started writing chapter 62 yesterday but became frustrated by not being able to download photographs etc. Finally we abandoned that chapter and now are continuing with chapter 62 because it was never finished.
Johnnie and Jo on your right. The sleep heads are Wanda, Kate, Quinith, Lois, Martha, Johnnie and Dorothy. This was during Johnnie’s freshman year at West Texas State.
Hollis Maynard went to Harding about the same time Johnnie went. He stayed there and got his degree. Johnnie had to come back to West Texas State to finish her education. Peggy Maynard remained at West Texas State.
There are many more people involved in Johnnie’s life at WT before Harding but time and space don’t allow me to put them all in this chapter.
I got a little bit ahead of myself with my meeting Johnnie. Obviously she had an interesting life. She had spent one year at West Texas State and decided to go to Harding University in Searcy, Arkansas at the start of her second year.
She had old maid Aunts – aunt Margie and aunt Helene who had some money and loaned her $250.00 to go to Harding. She loved that semester. She worked in the Patty Cobb cafeteria and had a ball. Her grades suffered somewhat so the aunts were not willing to fund another semester at Harding. She came back and enrolled at WT in the Spring semester of 1953. She got her job back in the cafeteria. I met her briefly at the beginning of the fall semester in 1953. This was detailed in a previous newsletter where we were in a round robin situation saying the name of all of those present. I left for Odessa after a brief enrollment and did not think much about West Texas State until the spring semester of 1954.
The above pictures were taken while she was at Harding. Harding University really made an impression on Johnnie. She did all she could to make sure our two children when to Harding and our two grandchildren went to Harding as well as Silvia Jaimes who found herself a husband at Harding.
After we secretly eloped and came back to West Texas State until the semester was over, we went our separate ways. She told her mother about out marriage and she was very disappointed because she had planned a big wedding in June after we graduated. John and Norene did not have any money to spend on a wedding so she finally accepted this idea and came up with the shower idea after we got back to school for the spring semester of 1955. I went with Walt Byrd for our Medical School Interviews. This was a two week process almost. The first place we went was to Dallas for the interview at UT Southwestern. They told us that they would let us know if we were accepted in just a few days. Then it was to Baylor in Houston, UT in Galveston and Tulane in Louisiana. We were tired puppies when we got back to West Texas State. Walt wanted to go by the post office on campus and pick up his mail and I wanted to do the same. He had and acceptance from Southwestern but my box was empty. What a disappointment. Instead of going to Shamrock to be with my new bride I was so depressed that I went to Lubbock to see my parents and let them know that they now had a new daughter-in-law. They did not seem too surprised. Roomers were out in Canyon and my sister Leola had related this information to my parents.
After I arrived at the Drug Store in Lubbock they could see that I was a little dejected. After about an hour of visiting with them I was planning to visit a few friends around and tell them about my marital status. Before I left, my Dad said “Oh, by-the-way you got this letter the other day”. The letter was from UT Southwestern Medical School and had been sent to my “home” address rather than my college p. o. box. I opened the letter quickly and found that I had been accepted into the freshman class starting in September 1955. I started hooping and hollering and finally settled down enough to call Johnnie and let her know the news. She was getting her degree in Primary Education and she said that she would start researching the schools in the Dallas area for positions.
We also decided to get back to West Texas State a little early before enrollment time so we could look for a place to live. I was anxious to get back and see my bride!!!!!
Scenes from the Canyon with friends shows people that I know from 66 years ago.
I cannot remember the young lady in the picture wading with me. The ones in the middle picture, I remember well except for the young lady in black. What I will tell you is that Rachel Maynard married Gaylord Cook and Charles Graham Married Johnnie Pavlovsky therefore these photo’s are historic in that aspect. Gaylord Cook passed away several years ago. He became a Gospel Preacher and was very good at the profession. My wife Johnnie passed away after nearly 64 years of marriage to me (Charles Graham).
Buddy Wilson had a long career as a professor of accounting at several universities and he an Mary Jane now live in the Houston area. I still keep in touch with the Wilsons and with Rachel Cook.
A lot of our activities extended into the fall semester as well. There became more restrictions on what I could do because I was making applications to Medical Schools and studying for the IMCAT (Medical School Entrance Exam).
Johnnie was doing some practice teaching and after I proposed to her we were trying to figure out where we would be living after we got married and went on to Med School (If I got accepted). During the fall semester of 1954 I was still taking about 22 hours including subjects that Amarillo College offered. Walt Byrd was on the same schedule I was because of catch up and he was married with 5 kids. One of his children was deaf so he wanted to go to Tulane Medical School near a deaf school that could help his son. I sent out 5 applications which included UT Southwestern; UT Galveston: Baylor in Houston; Tulane and an Osteopathic School in Missouri.
As the end on the semester was nearing a close I wanted to solidify my relationship with Johnnie. We had patched things up pretty well after my fiasco with some of her correspondence. One morning on December 9, 1954 were sitting in a boring chapel and neither of us had afternoon classes so I surprised her with a whisper “lets go get married”. She said ‘lets do it”. After Chapel we went to Amarillo and purchased a ring for her and a matching ring for me and took off for Tucumcari, New Mexico. We took of to New Mexico because they did not have a waiting period on getting married. Texas has a 3 day waiting period and the whole world would be notified. We would have been kicked out of our dorms if the powers that be knew we were married so we kept this very secret.
In Tucumcari, after we got out marriage license, Johnnie was looking in the phone directory for a Church of Christ preacher who could tie the knot. The preachers name was Roy Willingham. She knew Roy from his days at West Texas State. She said we would have to find another preacher. We started driving south to Clovis, New Mexico and before we arrived there lo and behold we were going through a small community of Melrose, New Mexico. We notice that there was a car parked outside the church. I went to the door of the parsonage and knocked. The preacher opened the door and asked how I could help. He asked all the questions like were we of age etc. He then called his wife from the house next door and an elder who lived near by and they witnessed the ceremony.
Needless to say we did not have time for a long Honey Moon but there was a cheep motel in Clovis and we were very hungry so we got baloney and cheese and bread and made a delicious honey moon meal. We then had this short time in the bed and cleaned up and headed back to Canyon so we could get back before curfew. I think one of Johnnie’s friends noticed that there was an extra ring on her finger and asked her about it. She swore this friend to secrecy. I put my ring in a safe place until the semester was over.
Walt Byrd and I had several interviews set up and he had the better transportation so we left from the Christmas Vacation and went to the interviews.
The spring semester of 1954 at West Texas State University was moving along very fast. I had a load of 22 hours which I could not have had at just West Texas State. In order to get more hours in that I would need to graduate in 1955 I had to go to Amarillo College. Another student, Walt Byrd was in my same predicament and we shared rides and classes there in addition to our load at Canyon. I was also making friends at the Bible Chair where I was taking some courses. These could be used for credits at the University at that time but since then this may not be possible.
I began to notice more and more a young lady by the name of Johnnie Pavlovsky. We did mainly group dating but close to the end of the semester, I took her on several dates. Something told me that this was the one that I wanted to marry. Close to the end of the semester I went to Lubbock to visit my parents who were running a Drug Store in that City. I told them about Johnnie and that I was going to pop the question. I went to the jewelry store and got and engagement ring, not knowing whether it would fit. Mother was supportive but Dad was noncommittal. When I got back to Canyon with the ring I looked at it closely and saw a black speck in it. Diamonds are compressed carbon you know. This was too obvious. The next week end I went back to Lubbock and the Jeweler was more than happy to exchange rings. About two weeks before the semester ended, I took Johnnie out to Palo Duro Canyon to pop the question. She said “yes” without hesitating. Her parents usually came to pick her up at the end of the semester but I told her I wanted to go meet them and show them who I was.
Her Dad, John was a gruff looking fellow from too much drinking and he seemed ok with the deal. Her mother on the other hand may have been a little reluctant because of having to put up with an abusive husband. I assured her mother Norene that I would take good care of her daughter. Before I went back to West Texas State to start summer school Norene had warmed up to me almost like I was her son.
I was a happy camper when I was headed back to Canyon in the summer of 1954. I had to take Physical Chemistry and a couple of minor subjects in summer school. As the summer ended I told Johnnie that I could not come to Shamrock before the fall semester because my Mother was in Ruidoso and my Dad wanted me to come help him run the grocery store. She was disappointed but when I told her there was a salary involved her ears perked up and she was ok with waiting to see me at the start of the fall semester.
Johnnie still had her job in the cafeteria and this helped pay her tuition. She did some work babysitting and working in vacation bible school in Shamrock that summer. Some of it was paid work and other parts were volunteer. Summer seemed to breeze by. We corresponded a lot. One letter she wrote me had a lot of I did this and I did that etc. and I must have been stresses out of my mind because I circled all of these “I’s” and sent it back to her. A few days later I found the engagement ring in my mail box. In a crisis mode I took off and went to Shamrock and I apologized profusely and begged her to forgive me and take the ring back. (I still have that letter somewhere in my keepsake drawer). I was not proud of that particular letter and kept it as a reminder to never do something like that again.