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Time to Get Real

Time to Get Real

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Published by David1949
Chapter XXXIX of "My Back Pages" by David L. Newman, Edited by K.S. Good.This is the story of my first year of college. After I had taken a year off from school to relax and work some, it was time to go to college or go to the draft. I chose college over the Army.My first semester taking courses in Automovite Mechanics instead of the courses I wanted to take. My 1957 Chevy, air conditioning and several more life changing events.
Chapter XXXIX of "My Back Pages" by David L. Newman, Edited by K.S. Good.This is the story of my first year of college. After I had taken a year off from school to relax and work some, it was time to go to college or go to the draft. I chose college over the Army.My first semester taking courses in Automovite Mechanics instead of the courses I wanted to take. My 1957 Chevy, air conditioning and several more life changing events.

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Published by: David1949 on Sep 25, 2009
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11/03/2010

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Chapter XXXIX
“Time to Get Real”
Yes, I had my year of working and just a summer of fun but it was now the time in mylife when I had to make a decision as to what I was going to do with the rest of my life.What would David Newman do now? I had a few choices to make. Choice number onewould be to continue to work and wait to be drafted. I didn’t like that choice. Choicenumber two would be to enlist into one of the services. I didn’t like choice number twoanymore than I did choice number one. Choice number three was to enroll in college.Choice number three was really better than the other options. Even as much as I didn’tlike school, it was still a better fit for me.I didn’t have a real plan before giving serious thought to going to college. I now had togive some serious consideration as to what I want from life. Exactly what could I study incollege to make me happy and give me a reason to put forth the effort to succeed? My firstthought after several months reading the courses offered at Grayson County College wasSociology. That was my first choice. I read a lot about the possibilities after college and Ithought I wanted a career in Sociology. I wanted to be some sort of Social Worker. I didn’tarrive at that choice on a whim. I gave it a lot of thought. I also talked to several of myfriends about my decision. That was a bad idea. I got no support from them. In fact, I gotno support from anyone about my career choice.My Mother was a nurse and she had devoted her life to the nursing career. Motherworked most of her career in different Veteran’s Hospitals. When we lived in Temple,Texas, she worked at the V.A. Hospital there. When we moved back to Trenton, sheworked at the V.A. Hospital in McKinney. When it closed, she worked for ShermanCommunity Hospital in Sherman until she found an opening at the V.A. Hospital inBonham. Mother worked there until she retired. Her retirement lasted just a few monthsuntil she was doing part time work for a Nursing Home in Trenton. She just checked in onthe patients two or three times a week. It was part time for a few months then it was fulltime. When the Nursing Home in Trenton closed, the patients and my Mother transferredto Whitewright. The same Doctor as the one in Trenton owned it. She worked there untilher death in 1971.I told all of that because my Mother spent her life helping people and I thought a careerin Sociology would be a way for me to do as she had done for so many years. In the sixties,there were no male nurses. There were some young men working in hospitals changingbedpans and doing cleanup stuff like that but that is not what I wanted. I wanted a careernot a job! I wanted to be able to help people and try to give something to the community
 
as my Mother had done for so many years. Unfortunately or fortunately for me I did notfollow my dream. I instead enrolled in Auto Mechanics. I did enjoy working on old cars. Ialso had many hours of experience working on them. It seemed like a good fit. Besidesthat, I had a friend, A.L. Bullock, who had just graduated from Trenton High School andhe was enrolling in the same class. I would at least know someone in my classes. We alsoformed a car pool with several others that helped saving gas money.The first thing I remember any of my instructors saying in one of my classes was abouteducation. Mr. Chad Morrison had the opinion education was not having everything inyour head but knowing where to find the information when you needed it. I had alwayshad problems with math in high school. College math was different. I learned in onesemester what I didn’t learn in high school. That is not completely true. I did learn somemath while in high school but I didn’t learn how to apply what I had learned. While inhigh school when I asked a question as to how to apply the math to everyday life, Icouldn’t get an answer. Well, not one that satisfied me.I did manage to learn something about Sociology my first semester at Grayson CountyJunior College. There were different classes of students; there was one group who took their classes on the “Hill” and the ones that were taking “Trade” classes. The “Trade”class was the future auto mechanics who might someday work on their expensive cars. Thewelding shop where future welders might have welded their expensive cars was acrossfrom the Auto Shop. The students who were on the “Hill” really didn’t consider us a partof the college. Of course, there were a few exceptions as there are in any situation. Mybrother Jimmie and my best friend John Washburn were students on the “Hill.” Iremember a few times John and Jimmie were given “The Look” while we were in theStudent Union Building. The SUB was where we would meet between classes, grab a snack and just hang out for a few minutes together. Neither Jimmie nor John were bothered bywhat anyone else thought. We were all friends and there weren’t enough “Looks” tochange that fact.I also learned another fact during my first semester in college. There is a difference inHigh School Teachers and College Instructors. Teachers teach the material from the bookswhile college Instructors instruct from experience. Most of my Instructors would applythe math I learned in high school to everyday life. The Pythagorean Theorem suddenlysprang to life. It now had meaning. I remembered some of it from school but I now couldapply it to something real. Thanks to my math instructor, Mr. Chad Morrison. Mr.Morrison had a way with explaining geometry so everyone could understand. I used thePythagorean Theorem many years later to teach my co-workers at Fisher Controls how tomake sure the walls were square while we were building offices. There were many timeswhen I would take a piece of cardboard and draw it out and I would have three or four
 
around me watching and listening as I explained it to them. One or two of them still usemy method today.Now for the Auto Repair course, I was driving a Chevy Station Wagon my first semesterof college. It was not what I wanted but due to having little money and in need of a car, Ibought it. My former employer, Herman Jinkins was good friends with a used car dealerin Carrollton, Texas. After work one day, we went by the car lot to look around. I hadlooked at some other cars on the lot but I was staying clear of the Chevy Wagon. Hermanand the dealer said for the money, the wagon was the best car for me. At eighteen years oldwho was I to argue with my girlfriends Father/Employer and the dealer. I drove off the lotin a pale blue early sixties model Chevy wagon.I found a 1957 Chevy two door body I could afford and my first major overhaul wassoon to begin. She was gold and I couldn’t wait to get it running and rid myself of thatChevy wagon. I had plenty of help with the overhaul. It seems everyone in the classwanted to help get that 1957 Chevy on the road again. Grayson County College hadcompletely stocked the shop with everything needed to do a complete overhaul. I learnedto use every piece of equipment in there.We pulled the 287 engine out of the wagon and began to rip apart the engine. A.L.Bullock, Johnny Taylor, Jr. Tucker and Bobby Demit were my helpers. Together weoverhauled and installed the engine in the ’57 Chevy. I gave the station wagon to anotherguy in the class who really wanted it. He wanted it as much as I wanted to rid myself of thething. We both were pleased. He did pitch in and help with my overhaul so it wasn’texactly a gift. He had sweat equity invested.My only mistake I made my first year of college was one I have regretted for most of mylife. The first week, when I was going over my classes, one class didn’t fit into my plans.There was a four-hour long afternoon drafting class. That meant I would not get homeuntil around five every Tuesday and Thursday. I decided to drop that class and I plannedto take the class in the summer to make it up. You can guess what happened. I never took the class as I planned. After my two years at Grayson County Junior College, I was threehours short of receiving my Associates Degree.I have thought many times about taking some classes to get my degree but that is notgoing to happen. I did manage to get a good job and use some of my college education inthe process. On several occasions a co-worker, who had a degree, confronted me. He wasalways bragging about having a degree. After hearing about it for what I felt should be thefinal time I asked him how much he made per hour with his degree. He did not answer thequestion. I told him how much he was making with his degree and added that I was threehours short of having my degree and then asked him how much I was making per hour.

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