The announcement this week Texas’ new bullet train expected to run within 10 years between Dallas and Houston will make just one stop (just off Hwy. 6 at Aggieland in College Station) is proof once again either “any blind raccoon can find an acorn or two if it just keeps scratching around” or, doubly so, "ghosts don’t live forever."
Indeed, the train caps a splashy PR campaign to reverse the school’s negative image vis a vis "modern times" that started a half century ago.
And it sure ‘nuff shreds a “locked-in” location moniker that no doubt either kept or drove thousands away from the school, too. Highway 6, not interstates, is how you reach A&M. So plan on staying a while, it was. Especially in the old days.
It hasn’t been but 50 some-odd years, yes, since only gung-ho, idealistic Army or Air Force wannabes, or passing-down farmers or ranchers kids mostly, or naive idiots like my fellow blogger Jim Myers and I, dared to venture off to Aggieland for college – to forced ROTC life in the mean Corps of Cadets. A powerful 12th man!
After barbers shaved off all our hair from our heads and we were put in military uniforms to march for an hour or so under a hot Texas afternoon sun, we were put at “Parade, rest!” in front of our barracks/dorms.
Before being dismissed, a steel-jawed first-sergeant walked angrily before each one of us – his glowing-red eyeballs glued to our faces as he passed by, watching us for a sign of weakness, just a twitch – row after row, while shouting long-lived words like these:
“Texas A&M put more military officers in World War II than any other military school in this country! Be proud you’re here! You hear!!? If not, if you don’t like it, always remember – Highway 6 runs both ways!! Take one of ’em!!!”
Hee, hee. After that first year, that’s exactly what Jim and I did. Flew the coop to happier learning grounds.
Huge setback for both of us, of course. Starting off college by gittin’ outta Dodge City isn’t exactly a textbook case on how to begin a college education.
But Texas A&M didn’t exactly offer the textbook campus life Jim and I had envisioned growing up in Cleburne either.
Should’ve prepared ourselves better? Cram all of that to see in one weekend visit our senior year in high school? Not quite. Sure wish the internet had been around then with the com boxes to get into, though. Whoo!
But it was a valuable lesson in life for each of us, too, the long and short of it was.
“Put more glue on your hands. There might be times when you might want to hang around a while longer. Life has a way of changing.”
Change came, too, for the old school. ’62-’63 (our year) was the last year Texas A&M refused to admit female students, for instance. Hwy. 6 became a co-ed highway. Just behind that was lifting the 2-year Corps membership requirement.
Top athletes around the country started giving the campus a second look, in the years that followed. The focus on academics intensified. Research, always A&M’s core strength, grew more prominent as corporate growth funneled more funds into the institution.
To thousands and thousands of graduates and their families over the years, Aggieland always has been one of the best, if not the best, campus in the nation. What has evolved through the past half century is now more people know it.
Soon the only stop between Dallas and Houston, on the only bullet train in the State of Texas, will be at A&M.
Would I let my teenage daughter go to school there in a few years on an academic scholarship, if she became interested?
La-dee-da! The times they are a changin’, ain’t they?!!
Here's the link again on the Fort Worth Star Telegram train story. http://www.star-telegram.com/2014/08/27/6072469/high-speed-rail-gaining-steam.html?rh=1
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