A funny thing happened

The 1910 yearbook was lost in the fire, but the quirky stories endured and found a place in the 1911 annual.

A funny thing happened

Rules concerning student behavior were strict, as they were in most schools in those days. There were two holidays during the session, Christmas Day and one in April, and students were not allowed to return home for Christmas.

A funny thing happened

The 1910 yearbook was lost in the fire, but the quirky stories endured and found a place in the 1911 annual.

Most of the content for the 1910 Horned Frog annual was lost in the Waco fire, but the following events were chronicled in the 1911 yearbook.

“Humorous situations often accompany the most trying scenes. Moving is an experience looked upon by most people as a very trying ordeal—a whole day, maybe two, given over to confusion between an old home and a new one. But did you ever have to move, in five minutes, from your old home with no new one to which you could go?

“Well, that’s what we did on the night of March 22, 1910. It would be quite amusing if you had to move in such haste, wouldn’t it? Then imagine the great amount of fun three hundred of us frightened, half crazy students had when we moved from the burning dormitory.

“Who could refrain from laughing when those slightly-dressed figures rushed from the bathhouse, screaming in the most anguishing tone; ‘Conflagration is consuming my domicile!’

“Then, too, there was Miss Nell Andrew. No artist could present the picture on canvas — not even Joe Murray, who witnessed the whole scene — but we all felt like joining Una Jackson in saying: “Nell, for pity’s sake, put on my coat.” Fuzzy was calling loudly for something to wrap Dixie Logan in. If he had not been rattled he might have used, to a very good advantage, the sheet, which some modest maiden had thoughtfully thrown around the inadequately clothed Madonna, rescued from the Art Studio.

“Just at this moment Abernathy came up and took the swooning figure of Miss Watson, the matron, in his arms. Pete Wright bowed in Alfonso-Gaston style, and inquired of the agitated matron if he might have the great honor of removing her dresser from her room.
‘Oh, no,’ said Miss Watson, ‘don’t bother with the dresser, but do bring my bell, quick. See those couple soireeing! I can’t do a thing with them.’

“Pete started for the bell, but a bundle of clothes, dropped from a third-story window, mashed him flat, and he lost, at once, his ambition to serve the matron.

“Willie Ben Irby was pacing up and down the front walk. Suddenly she stopped, cast a glance toward the fourth floor of the main building and wrung her hands.

“ ‘I know Clyde Hackney is burned up,’ she lamented. ‘He is up there trying to save those loud hose — those hose that are so loud that they sometimes keep me from hearing his heart beat. I hope they will not be saved.’

“But her hopes for the destruction of the hose were in vain, for the heroic Hack escaped the flames, and as he approached the weeping girl with a happy smile on his face, he held up a string of gay-colored ties—and there, too, were the sox. Several of the girls, in their rescue work, made a specialty of property just as valuable. Clara Townsend, after securing her many detachable fixtures, exclaimed: ‘Oh, Mr. Dabbs, I want my cologne; five bottles in my top dresser drawer, and where are my diamonds?’

“Ada Culpepper just barely did save her blue satin uniform and graduation gown. Coming up to a bunch of students, in the midst of which Major Bush was boo-hooing like a baby, she blurted forth: ‘Gee, but this is tough on a sweet girl graduate. I don’t guess there will be any Commencement, now, so here is where I have my own little graduation exercises.

“And suiting her actions to her words, she jerked from a box she was lugging, a dark robe and cap. Quickly donning them, she mounted a trunk and began an address on  ‘The rescue of Little Tommy.’ ”

About the series:
Part I – Spring 2010: The 1910 Fire at the Waco campus
Part II – Fall 2010: A year in downtown Fort Worth
Part III – Fall 2011: TCU settles into present-day campus

On the Web:
A Fateful Fire
The early days: Before the fire
Skiff editor G.W. Stevenson column after the fire
Funny incidents from the fire, recorded in the 1911 Horned Frog
A Century of Partnership

Clark, Randolph. Reminiscences: Biographical and Historical. Lee Clark, Publisher. 1919.
Hall, Colby. History of Texas Christian University: A College of the Cattle Frontier. Texas Christian University Press. 1947.
The Horned Frog. Annual of Texas Christian University. 1911.
The Skiff, a weekly newspaper of Texas Christian University.  March 26, 1910-August 26, 1910.
Swaim, Joan Hewatt. Walking TCU: A Historical Perspective. Texas Christian University Press. 1992.
Waco Semi-Weekly Tribune. Newspaper. March 26, 1910.
Waco Times-Herald. Newspaper. May 11, 1910.

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