Page 24 - Autobiography of a Law School
P. 24

Wanting a Seersucker Suit, 1933-1952

my half-time job. Moreover, according to the office manager, Odie
V Tannery,5 a lot of local lawyers couldn’t draft deeds properly. I
calculated that I could make $500 a month as a lawyer if I could sell
a deed a day. The seed was planted.

         Moss Adams, Kelly Bell, and Tom Reavley disappeared
from my history in 1952 when I left for law school, but I took note
when President Jimmy Carter named Tom Reavley to the Fifth
Circuit Court of Appeals in 1979.

         Not many people go to law school so they can charge
$25.00 for deeds. I might not have done so either if my life had not
changed dramatically six months after I appeared as a late-in-life
surprise to my parents in August, 1933.

         My first few months of life were ripe with middle-class
promise. The Great Depression had inflicted tragic deprivation on
most American families, but we seemed immune. My dad’s
nineteen-year seniority earned him a Depression-proof job as
railroad telegrapher in Crandall, a small town near Dallas. My
parents had a two-family income until the school board assigned my
mother’s slot to a teacher whose husband had no job. Losing her job
imposed little hardship because Dad’s salary amply supported their
modest middle-class life style.

         Railroad pay even accommodated my dad’s idiosyncratic
charity—letting hobos charge cheap meals to his account at the local
cafe. This practice ended when Crandall’s KKK took note, and the
Grand Dragon warned dad to stop encouraging undesirables to stop
for a meal instead of passing on to Dallas. Forever after, my mother

5 The name is not misprinted. There was no period after the V. See:

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