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THE GRAHAMS’ OF COCHRAN COUNTY – CHAPTER 68

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.

You live and learn!!!