G.M.C. Massey, previously noted as a strict disciplinarian, also wrote of having a positive impact on many students over his 20 years of teaching in rural Texas schools, 1900-1920.
There were two boys in that School that I was unable to fathom: one was 17, and was the son a of a wealthy man who had run a government Still, And the other one was 18 years of age, and was the son of a Farmer that was getting along very well but these Boys were very careless in their lives; and had not manifested much concern in anything but the sports, and they were not too much concerned about them, I mean any of the Sports; Of course back there in 1905, Sports in school didn’t amount to as much as It does in the present AGE; But I was very much concerned about them as it seemed that they were just drifting. So one day I thought that I was going to make a stab at it anyway, and if I did any good for the, It would beat what I was doing at that time; So I went by the seat that they were occupying before time for School to be out, and asked them if they would remain in their seats after School, that I wanted to talk to them, and they said that they would be glad to do so.
So after the children had cleared away; and gone on their way home, I just went back and sat down where I could look them both in the face, And began talking to them about their Families; and their relations to the Family, and the community and to the state; And showed them how that they were just drifting along with the tide. And asked them if they had ever given a thought to what they wanted to do in LIFE, And they had not given that a thought; and was just drifting, They knew not where, And had seemed to not given a care: Then I told them that there were plenty opportunities out in the world for those that prepared them selves for them; and that there were also things that they might accomplish; But I held it up to them; that every time that something happened that gave somebody an Opportunity for an advancement; The man that was prepared for it was the man that got it; And after I had talked to them at length; I asked them if they were interested; and they both agreed that they were, and asked for some time to consider the proposition; And I told them they could have all the time that they wanted; But that if they didn’t…
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…What they wanted to do, But they wanted me to tell them about how to go about it to the best advantage, And I just asked them to lay the proposition before me, one at the time, and that I was there to help them and would do the best that I could to help them. So the older of the two began to talk, And he said that he wanted to be a general mercantile business man, and he would have to make his money to begin with out of teaching, and he wanted to know if I could tell him how long that it would take him to get prepared for the start? So I told him that he was on his way very well, and if he would take my advice he would be teaching the next winter. Then he laughed and said good, TELL ME. Then I told him that if he would get to work in real earnest and go on here till school is out and then go to Golden to the spring Normal, Then to come back there to the normal that we were going to teach there in June and July; That he might be able to get a second grade teachers Certificate, and that I would help him to secure a school for the winter if he needed the help.
Well he did everything that I told him to do and it worked out fine, and he did not need my help to get a school, As he had a relative that lived near Abilene, Texas. And he found a school for him and he went to teaching, and got a job in a dry goods store on Saturdays till summer and then he worked there in the summer till school again, and after a year or two he had bought in the store, and after I moved out here I learned that he had bought the business out and was running his own business, and doing well.
Now the other party that I was talking about was only 17 years of age when we picked them up and began talking about them, and he had decided that he wanted to become a physician, and he told me that, and wanted me to tell him how long, and what course, and I told him that as hew stood right now that it would take another year there and that it would be well for him to take advantage of the normal that we were going to have there that summer, and then put in a good term the next year and follow that with a Summer normal and that he ought to be able to get a second grade teachers certificate by that time, and that would get him admission to the Medical college at Atlanta Georgia Or in Nashville Tennessee either; And as I was at another school that Winter I failed to keep up with his success till the 5th year after that I was teaching at Picton, up in Hopkins county, and one Saturday I was down at Winnsboro in Wood county and was in the drug store having some work done on my watch, and was talking to the Jeweler at the front, and some one back behind the Prescription case hollowed at me and called me Professor Massey, and followed that by coming up to the front; and it was the fellow that I was writing to you just now; and I told him that I wanted him to give an account of himself: that I had not heard from him since the Normal was out at Oak grove the Summer of 1905, and that was nearly 5 years ago.
And he began by saying that he had kept his word and had done as I had recommended that he do; and that he was sure proud that he had, too for everything had gone to the bad with them. His father had had some financial reverses, and just as he finished the Doctor degree that his father had died, and that Doctor Black had moved to Quitman, And that he had settled there at Oak Grove and that he had to take care of his mother, and Family the rest of the younger children; And that the People had rallied to him in a way that he had a good practice, And had made a good start toward success.
And he went on to say that He had been very grateful to me for the interest that I had taken in him, and for the advice, and the help that I was to him; And he went on to say that if it had not been for me and my advice that he did not know what would have happened to them, and as well as he for when his father died that there were not enough left to live very far, and that as it was; that they were getting along just fine.
How such talk as that, is what makes life worthwhile I have had many such boquets as that given me, and I consider that I am still cashing in on some of my Teaching pay.