Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Granddad blogging: Tuition

Last week in granddad blogging, my grandfather told an old family ghost story. Now he describes how he went to college and paid for his first year.

My mother and daddy didn’t want me to farm, because they had such a rough go of it. They wanted me to do something else, I don’t know if they didn’t think I could. I don’t know what they thought. But anyway... and I wanted to go to college, too. I went over to Murfreesboro to try to get a football scholarship. I played football in high school. I wasn’t very good, but I didn’t know I wasn’t. But anyway the boy I went with, that Murfreesboro did want decided he wasn’t gonna go, so they had no more interest in me.

I had taken agriculture in high school, and the agriculture agent came by and he and my daddy were talking about college and said that if was gonna go to school I was just as well to go to the best one. My daddy wanted to know what that was. And the man said the University of Tennessee.

I don’t think either one of us had heard of the University of Tennessee at that particular time. So I went on up there, the only thing is I didn’t have any money. I think I had saved thirty dollars from a black sheep that was mine. I got the wool and I got the lambs. I accumulated thirty dollars. And I had a pony that I had ridden to school for a long, long time, and I sold him for thirty dollars. That made sixty. And I reckon my mother and daddy gave me forty. Anyway I headed to UT with a 100 dollars, that had to be room and board and tuition, books, clothes, everything. I hitchhiked up there. I hitchiked home at Thanksgiving and I hitch hiked back home at Christmas.

Uncle Ben didn’t want me to go to college. And he had a pretty good sized farm, it’s where his son lives now. But he had thirteen acres across the creek and he told me that if I wouldn’t go to college, he’d give me that thirteen acres to start a farm with and that I’d be better off farming than I would going to college. He mighta been right, I don’t know. But anyway that wasn’t what I wanted, and my mother and daddy did neither. So I managed to go to college.

I had a hundred dollars when I started to college the first year. And that was to pay my tuition, my books, my room and board and everything else. Well, I got a job firing furnaces to get a place to stay free. I got a job workin’ in a greasy spoon, a restaurant, to get some meals. And I got a job working out at the farm for twenty-five or thirty cents and hour, I’ve forgotten which. It was a National Youth Act, one of Roosevelt’s government programs.Fort Sanders garden
The house where my grandfather stoked the furnace

And I just barely made it through, and came home that quarter and had no money at all. And no way of getting any, ‘cause I’d sold my pony and sheep and things I had to get the first hundred dollars together. I didn’t have anything else left. And I didn’t know how much my daddy could or couldn’t have given me. I don’t think he could have given me a hundred dollars.

But he and Uncle Ben talked and Uncle Ben said “Looks like he’s gonna go. So here’s fifty dollars Neal for him to go next quarter.” I reckon my daddy had fifty dollars, I don’t know, anyway. I just went a quarter at a time. Just went a quarter at a time. But then my daddy started working on the tobacco floor in Gallatin. Five dollars a day, big money.

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