I had made application to return to Texas A & M to finish my studies, and get my degree in Agronomy. I had accumulated about 32 hours of college credit since leaving A & M. They informed me that they could not accept all my hours, and it would take three years to get my degree. Remember, I said my mindset was this; I had lost several years, and to me three years was a lifetime. Since I was already so far behind my peers who had not been in the military, the quicker I could get my degree the better.
I decided to check out The University of Texas, where Charlotte had just received her degree. They accepted all of my hours, but only as elective hours, and I could receive a Bachelor of Business Administration in a year and a half if I took only required subjects each semester. That decided it, and I enrolled in the University, I signed up for 24 hours and began also taking a correspondence course at the same time. Charlotte’s sister and brother-in law Alice and Winn Dalley lived in Austin and Winn was going to school, and that was also a factor in the decision.
In 1947 we found a place to live at 4413 Ave A in North Austin. The rent was $32.50 a month. It was a garage apartment, and I believe about 310 sq ft. The outside dimensions of the entire apartment were 20’ x 18’. It had no sub floor, so you could look through the cracks in the floor and see the garage below, which had no doors. That winter we spread newspapers on the floor, and scatter rugs down on the floor to keep some of the cold wind out. I remember looking from the bed at night across the floor, and seeing the newspapers float up in the air from the wind coming through the cracks.
It was at this apartment that Charlotte taught me a lesson in patience and emotional control. I had a terrible temper, and one day I was working in the garage below the Apt. I was changing a tire on the “Jet Job”. I had repaired a flat and was trying to get the tire back on the wheel. It would not go back on. I had two tire tools, and worked, and worked. I had pinched fingers on both hands, and my thumb was bleeding. The tire went on the wheel except about twelve inches that would just not go. I was cussing and threw one of the tire tools against the wall after catching several fingers between the tire and the wheel. I was out of control, and pitching a fit.
About this time Charlotte who had been listening to me from above, came down the stairs and says,” Let me try.” I explode, “I’m 185 lbs and strong, you are five feet tall and 125 lbs how in the—do you think you can force that tire on that wheel.” Let me show you” she says. Then I respond, ”All right, go right ahead, here are the tire tools.” Charlotte inserts the tire tools, and steps on one with her little foot, and then the other, and the tire goes “pop,” and jumps right on the wheel. I could not believe it! I had done the same thing twenty times without success. Charlotte did not say a word; she turned and walked back upstairs. I sat down on the running board, and just stared at that darn wheel. That was the day I started to do my best to not lose my temper and also stopped cussing.
After living in our garage apt for about a year the owner advised us that they were raising the rent from $32.50 to $35.00 a month. I exploded, “That’s it, we are moving because we cannot afford it.” They relented and we lived there several more months until I graduated.