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eagle tale


Sixty members of the class of fifty-seven

Golden Eagle memories

More than 60 members of the class of 1957 met to recall stories from their college days at the annual Golden Eagles luncheon Oct. 26. The group was serenaded by songs that illustrated the lively spirit around campus in the 1950s, including "Panty Raid" and "Everything I Love is Green and White." Here are a few of the Golden Eagles' memories.


One of the most memorable experiences from North Texas was the process of registering for classes. We stood outside (rain or shine) in a long line (alphabetical by last name) by the old library, which was right across the street from the UB (Union Building) and Post Office. All registration was done by hand, and professors were stationed at the door to check your last name to make sure you were following the alphabetical listing.

Those of us with names at the end of the alphabet were always challenged to get the classes we wanted. Several folks tried "creative ways" to get ahead of where they belonged, and some of the professors took great delight in sending these folks back to the line. It was a very tiring, sometimes frustrating job to get registered for the classes you wanted. But in those pre-computer days, this was the best they could do.

I will always consider the time I spent at North Texas as some of the most enjoyable years of my life.

— James E. "Jim" Tate ('57, '62 M.Ed.)

No bull

It must have been 1955 or '56, and I was pledging the Industrial Arts Club along with a group of others. The club was sponsoring a candidate for one of the queen positions. Word got around that my cousin, Horace Trietsch ('57), and I had a Jersey cow that we could lead. A sign was constructed and placed across the cow. Horace and I led the cow throughout the campus during our available times. The sign read, "This is no bull — vote for our candidate." (I do not remember the young lady's name.) After a week of campus walking, our mission was completed.

Requirements for pledging the Industrial Arts club were to:

1) Take a piece of sycamore lumber and finish it to a glossy state to make a 24-inch ruler. Specific instructions were given with exact dimensions and requirements. The 1/16-inch measurements were inked by hand to complete the ruler. I still have the ruler on display at my home.

2) For the metal part of the requirements, straighten and polish a bridge spike that had been bent every way but loose. We had to do this outside of class. My straight shiny bridge spike hangs by my desk at home today.

— Thomas Trietsch ('57, '67 M.Ed.)


I remember special friends at Kendall Hall (called the Leos), sunbathing behind the hall, playing bridge while we waited to go eat our evening meal, traveling to the town of Ponder west of Denton to eat T-bone steak and homemade pie, goofing off looking at and exploring abandoned houses in the countryside, walking through the UB to class, checking the mail box and taking in the smell of the famous Crumb Coffee Cake.

—Elizabeth Conces Collins ('57)

Record sales

We looked forward to Saturday night movies and stage shows, featuring 'Fessor Graham and the Aces of Collegeland, at the Main Auditorium. We always tried to hear Pat Boone when he sang with the Aces, and I even tried to boost his record sales by buying them outside of Denton where I knew they would sell. I also did that for The Strikes, featuring one of our "J" majors. Fondly remembered are the afternoon jam sessions in the UB Howdy Room and the weeknight dances on the slab behind the UB. Can't forget the UB's coffee cake or the theatre-in-the-round held there.

But, perhaps the most memorable times were spent within the two smaller groups that became like family — the journalism department and the Green Jackets. Although I sat in a cowbell clanging Red Raiders yell section with my suitemate and her brother my freshman year, 1952, when we beat Texas Tech, all the remainder of my college years would be spent with the Green Jackets at football and basketball games. We also helped with Fine Arts events and polished trophies in the UB cases each spring. Combined events with the letterman's club and the T-Club were also fun.

And as journalism majors, working on the Campus Chat and the Avesta literary magazine, we didn't have to worry about being campused for being late for dormitory curfew. We spent many a late hour on the publications, forming friendships that have lasted throughout our lives. Working on the Press Club's float for the annual Homecoming Parade always seemed to end in a downpour or having our top sheared off under some over-the-street cable.

The journalism department was a hands-on department, and almost all of us worked in one capacity or another. I had at least five different jobs in the "J" building and also handled press relations for the Denton County Centennial Commission the spring semester of my senior year. That semester, as editor of the Avesta, I relied on another journalism senior, Fred Graham, who had print shop experience, to help get out the spring issue before the end of the semester. Two years later, while working at the San Angelo Standard-Times, we would marry.

— Sidney Sue Smith Graham ('57)

Minnow in a bucket

In the fall of 1956, I became a student assistant in the news service, handling sports. It was the year of North Texas' first integrated — and undefeated — freshman football team, and the varsity's last year in the Gulf Coast Conference, finishing with a 7-2-1 record. Spring sports were the first to enter the Missouri Valley Conference.

The first vivid recollection I have of that freshman team was the first scrimmage we had under the lights inside Fouts Field. I was sitting in the grass on the press box side when Abner Haynes ('62) received a kick and started running around his right and toward me. Before the defensive end could clasp his arms together, Abner had done this little backwards dance and just shot out of there like a minnow in a bucket. There was a momentary silence. You kind of looked around and everybody was doing the same thing because he did such phenomenal things. Coach Mitchell came walking by and said he "thought" Abner "had a scholarship."

— Fred Graham ('57)

Ah, the coffee cake

I have "fond" memories of the long lines at the library to register for classes thinking that you had your schedule completed only to find out that the class you needed was closed. Then the process started over. The other challenge was to make sure you did not have a Saturday class. That, too, was a process fraught with frustration. I was successful all four years!

Ah, the coffee cake at Union! The coffee cake was probably one of the staple foods that kept us going. My years as a member of Sigma Nu fraternity, especially my year as president, are some of my most fond memories, which today continue to grow when I am with the brothers.

North Texas prepared me for the world and I am forever grateful.

— Jim Cooper ('57)

Almost the Ugliest Man

I represented PiKA in the Ugliest Man on Campus contest my senior year. I campaigned on the theme of "natural ugliness"! I would wash my duck-tailed haircut and wouldn't comb it. I wore a Hoss Cartwright-style western hat with an arrow shot through the crown, a sport coat and yellow and green stovepipe boots. I played guitar and some of my fraternity brothers joined me in playing rock and roll and taking up donations in the UB. We had two guitars, a piano, a bass and a sax. We had a lot of fun and placed second based on the amount of donations collected for charities.

— Don Roff ('57)

Dr Pepper and peanuts

Remembrances: North Texas Jazz Band, Stan Kenton, cutting-edge music, 'Fessor Graham, Saturday nights, Terrell Hall (all my years), Mrs. Huckabee the dorm director, Sunday night "dinners" from Pender's Cheeseburger, Dr Pepper with peanuts thrown in, wonderful Dean Bentley, great professors: Vernon Eady, A.A. Daniel, Beth Townsend, Mary Glenn Perry (No. 1!), Sid Hamilton. Pat Boone was on campus (maybe during grad school — he was popular, very noticed!)

— Pat Mattingly ('57, '61 M.Ed.)

Airplane publicist

Prior to attending UNT, I was a captain and pilot in the U.S. Marine Corps. I had just finished a tour of duty in Korea. I loved flying; therefore, I purchased a Globe Swift Airplane so that I could continue flying. Because I was a veteran, I joined the GIX fraternity. In 1955 the fraternity sponsored Martha Bateman for Homecoming Queen. As part of the campaign, I rigged a loud speaker system to my airplane and flew over the campus telling people to vote for Martha Bateman. ... She won.

— Kenneth M. Branscome ('57)

North Texas music

As a transfer student from Hardin-Simmons University, I lived in Oak Street Dorm. My roommate was a classical music major from Borger who took piano from the artist in residence, Stefan Bardas. We spent hours playing my 45 rpm classical music records. As she was an accompanist for her brother (a voice major), I would sometimes go to the practice room and enjoy piano and voice. We loved the music that North Texas offered — Pat Boone, 'Fessor Graham dances, the pit organ, Harry James, Tex Beneke, Jose Greco and many others.

Alvin and I married 50 years ago last April. I graduated in June and he in August.

— Wilma Price Ball ('57) and Alvin P. Ball ('57)

Unsung hero

There were so many memorable experiences at North Texas, but the best one I remember was the "calling out" ceremony for the women's honor group, "Meritum" (which became Mortarboard in later years). It was a meaningful honor for me to be included in that group with several other senior women whom I loved and admired.

In addition, I received a wonderful surprise when my mother appeared at the ceremony with my cousin and mentor, Hazel Ballow. Mother had been the "unsung hero" of my successes in high school and college — skillfully producing clothing that would rival the finest to be found in stores and working hard to provide funds to pay for necessities not covered by scholarships or my own earnings. In those days, Henderson, Texas, was a long way from Denton and it "made my day" for her to be there.

— Joan Carlisle Propes ('57)

Col. Taylor

I was a member of the Air Force ROTC under the capable leadership of Lt. Col. Bobby R. Taylor. On several occasions, Col. Taylor would fly aircraft into Denton Airport. Then, as part of our military science class, he would take a group of ROTC cadets for a plane ride, officially termed an "orientation flight." He would even let each cadet take turns at flying the plane, a C-45 or C-47, around the open skies of Denton County. It was great fun, and we all got credit for being in class!

Just recently I found out that Col. Taylor, who retired from the Air Force, is now 90 years young and is living in Dallas. On Aug. 31, it was my pleasure to visit Col. Taylor along with two of his brothers. I know that he did not specifically remember me, but he was very glad to visit and talk about people and events that we helped each other remember.

This small bit of memory is in honor of a man who was highly respected as a leader and mentor to hundreds of young men who later served their country as Air Force officers.

— Gary Berryman ('57)












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