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One rainy morning, North Texas in the 1920s by Gladys Seelbach Renfro

I didn't care too much about going to college at first. One day my sister, Lillian, and I went to Henderson together to shop and I went in the dry goods store. I decided I'd apply for a job as a clerk in the store, and the lady said I could work there.

But Papa "hit the ceiling," so to speak. Papa said clerking was long hours and hard work and I would do lots better teaching school. So that's how it started. He said I might even get a job teaching at the new Gaston School when it was completed. (I did and I liked it.)

I decided to go to North Texas after talking with my aunt, Mina Beth Seelbach ('27). She was finishing college in Denton, and one of her sisters, Minnie, was attending college there, too. Mina Beth taught geography at North Texas. I enrolled the summer of '25 after finishing high school and returned for the fall and winter semesters. I earned a two-year teaching certificate and applied for a position at Gaston School, where I was elected to teach fourth grade.

The North Texas campus had only a few buildings then, and I lived at the Malone House, across the street from the government building. Some of the girls did their own cooking. We had a kitchen and bath upstairs. Mrs. Malone looked after the house, and Mr. Malone - we called him "Dad" Malone - had a grocery store. I didn't do any cooking, though, and took my meals at a boarding house across the street at Mrs. Clark's. Mrs. Malone was her aunt.


Gladys Seelbach Renfro first attended North Texas in 1925.


I took a liberal arts course and had many education courses as they were required for teaching. I also took some history, biology and chemistry and a government course with Dad Pender. Dr. Kingsbury was one of my history teachers. He had an old museum in the same building. Also, I took some public school music classes.

Going to college was studying, attending socials and meetings on the campus, and riding the bus to the business part of Denton. And I would see Mina Beth now and then.

As I was walking to class one rainy morning, Barrett Renfro stopped at the curb in the Skiles dry cleaning delivery truck (he called it the cracker box) and asked if I wanted to ride to class. As it was raining, I accepted. I was on my way to Dad Pender's government class. A few days after that, I saw Barrett in Dad Malone's grocery. Finally, he asked for a date.

But students weren't allowed to date non-students without permission from Miss Clark, the dean of girls. So, I went to her office. I had no problem getting permission. She said she knew the Renfro family and they were very nice people. The Malones knew Barrett well, too. Actually, he seemed to be well liked. I think he delivered most everyone's dry cleaning. So he and I had "free sailing."

After we married, we had an apartment on the first street south of Sycamore. The landlady called it "the honeymoon cottage." As I look back, college days passed quickly.



Editor's note:

Gladys Seelbach Renfro ('43), who celebrated her 100th birthday in October, first attended North Texas in 1925. She earned a teaching certificate and quit college when her children were born. When her husband, Daniel Barrett Renfro, joined the Marine Corps during World War II, she returned to campus to earn her history degree. She shared these early North Texas memories with her son, Matty Barrett Renfro ('53).










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