Walking the Stage

Posted in Eternal Love | 2 comments

Frank, Scotty, and I were thriving in College Station, Texas, living across from the campus, life seemed effortless and times were so easy.

Of course, we had little money, but enough to satisfy our daily needs.  Although Frank was busy going to school plus working two jobs, he wanted me to stay at home to be with Scotty.  I finally convinced him when Scotty was six months old that I could stay home and babysit little ones of Moms who worked outside their homes.

After word got out that daycare was available at our home, I ended up having four more little ones to take care of during the day along with our son.  The new little ones ranged in ages of two to four years old.  I fed them all breakfast, a midmorning snack, a hot lunch, and an afternoon snack.  We played outside on sunny days, and if it rained, we stayed inside built with wooden blocks, raced small metal cars, colored beautiful pictures, and pieced together wooden puzzles.

The children all took a nap which gave me time to wash dishes and wash a load of clothes.  Only one of the five was potty trained, so I also took on the challenge of potty training the others and found that it was easier to teach a group.  If one child tinkled in the potty, we all clapped for them then the next child thought it was the thing to do.  I even decided to put Scotty on a little snap on to the big potty thangy which had a squeezy frog head on the front of it.  Scotty loved that squeezy frog, and he would squeeze it, laugh, and then tinkle.

The best thing about me doing daycare was that it allowed Frank only to have to work one job instead of two which gave us a lot more family time together.  Some days Frank was there all day to help out with all of the kiddos, and of course, they loved him.  On the days that Frank was there all day, we would take the kiddos all for a long walk to a playground with a slide and big swings in the middle of the Collegeview Apartments large backyard.  We always took snacks with us which consisted of peanut butter on saltine crackers, apple slices, and a large container of water with plastic cups.

Scotty and Nancy Henderson

Scotty and Nancy at the Playground behind Collegeview Apartments

Everything was going great, and in the late Summer of 1974, another brother joined us in College Station.  He would be a Freshman at Texas A&M and in the Corps Of Cadets.  Another brother living in College Station meant that three of my brothers were now living and going to school at Texas A&M along with Frank.  It seemed like we were beginning to own that school or it at least felt like home.  This brother was not married like the other two and had moved into the Corps dorm.

One Saturday afternoon, I heard a knock on our apartment door, and after opening the door, there stood my Freshman Corps brother with a clothes bag in his hand.  After I asked him what he was up to, he asked me if I could do a favor for him.  Of course, I told him sure then asked him what was up.   He said that he needed me to wash some clothes for him.  Being his big sister and thinking he did not have extra money for the laundromat, I told him absolutely yes.

While thanking me, he emptied the bag of clothes on my dining room table then told me he had washed them, but there was a problem.  Immediately, as the clothes tumble out of the bag onto the table, I saw his dilemma.  It was apparent that he had washed his colored clothes in with his white clothes.  Being a new Aggie, my brother had some new maroon t-shirts.  Since the maroon color tends to bleed out of clothes when washed, my brother now had pink undershirts and tighty-pinkies which would never do in the Corps Dorm, most definitely not as a Freshman.

Okay, I still had faint memories of an incident of Smoking Laundry in Massachusetts involving a cloud arising from a washing machine from a bleach and ammonia mixture, so who was I to laugh at or judge someone ending up with tighty-pinkies.  With a straight face holding all laughter inside, I told him that all his white clothes would end up white again, but it might take some soaking in bleach water overnight then a few more washings with soap and bleach.  My brother was very appreciative then thanked me over and over.  Funny,  I did not have to even mention to him not to wash colored clothes with whites again, go figure.  Well, I got those clothes from pink to white once more, and not one upperclassman in the Corps dorm ever knew about the tighty-pinkies.  It seemed that there was never a dull moment while we lived in College Station and having family there with us was priceless.

Frank and Scotty Henderson

Scotty and Frank After Texas A&M Graduation in 1974

On a beautiful crisp day at nine o’clock in the morning on Saturday, December 14th, 1974 at G. Rollie White Coliseum on the campus of Texas A&M University in College Station, Texas; Loren Frank Henderson, Jr. walked proudly across that stage, shook hands, and accepted his diploma.  In two and a half years with a 3.4-grade average, Frank graduated from Texas A&M with a Bachelor of Science Degree having two majors in History and Health along with Curriculum and Instruction while working two jobs to take care of Scotty and me.  Frank had also completed his practice teaching at A&M Consolidated High School.

All of Frank’s family and mine set in the seats next to Scotty and me while we waited for Frank to cross the stage.  I remember getting up and holding Scotty in my arms then walking to the railing to watch as his dad, my love, heart, and soul walked across the stage to receive his diploma.  Here was the man who had written letters to me from Vietnam so concerned about what he would do once he got out of the Army, came home to me, and tried to make a living for us in the world walking across the stage of honor.  I was so proud of him that I thought my heart would burst as tears flooded my eyes.  There was no doubt in my mind that God had amazing plans for this extraordinary man.  I was so thankful that Frank and God had chosen me to his wife and soulmate.  God was totally in control of our lives, and during the process had given us a son who was for us a real miracle but God had not finished with our stay in College Station.

Graduation 1974 mementos

Frank’s Graduation Mementos

With some GI Bill left, Frank enrolled in the 1975 Spring Semester at Texas A&M University.  He worked on his Master’s Degree at the Department of Educational Administration.  Frank would also take courses in the first summer semester and second summer semester while working two jobs.  On July 9, 1975,  Frank completed a program of studies at the Institute for Beginning Administrators and then awarded a certificate from them.

During the second summer semester, Frank applied for teaching positions around the state of Texas.  He was ready to get out there and teach kids.  Also, Frank was interested in coaching football, basketball, track and anything else that was available.  He had played football, basketball, and had been a Shotputter/Discus thrower in track all his years of high school and he loved baseball.  I knew Frank would be an outstanding teacher and coach because of the way he related to adults and children.  They all loved him.

Frank, Scotty and I would travel to several schools in our trusty blue Super Beetle so Frank could interview for jobs.  Since Frank was not a P.E. Major, he had decided to apply to small schools which might hire him to teach and coach.  The first school that Frank interviewed with was in a little town called Christoval south of San Angelo, Texas.  So we all drove to San Angelo, spent the night then early the next morning Frank went to his interview in Christoval.  Scotty and stayed at the hotel until Frank picked us up after the meeting then we drove south to a little town 20 miles south of Uvalde called La Pryor, Texas.

Frank interviewed with the new Head Coach in La Pryor at the high school, and they became instant friends.  The Head Coach was a single man who was a year older than Frank, and this was his first Head Coaching position.  He hired Frank that very afternoon then we all went to eat at a little Mexican Food Restaurant right there on one of the main roads through La Pryor Hwy 57.

Frank, Scotty, and I drove back to College Station that night.  While Scotty slept in the back seat, Frank and I were wide awake, talking, and making plans.  We were too excited to be tired because we knew there would be more adventures on this new journey we fixing to take.

Frank was so excited and kept saying, “Nancy Lou, your husband is gonna teach and Coach!  You’re gonna have to stop with that Dimple stuff, especially in front of the team.” but he winked at me when he said it.

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  1. Great story, Nancy. I love the way you weave the humor in with all the rest. I always love reading your stories. They are certainly never boring! 🙂

    • Thank you so much Diane. What can I say? We were a humorous family. We had so much fun in College Station but the fun is just beginning in Ls Peyor, Texas. Lol
      God Bless You and thank you for reading and your comment. I really appreciate it.
      I love you,

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