Saturday, September 5, 2009

Ragnots: Raggedy Uniforms and High Hopes....

In 1932 the Mites reached their finest hour when they met Corsicana for the state championship and the legend can be said to begin that season. "We were ragnots, doing an excellent job. The whole town began to pull for us. We wore those leather helmets and khaki pants...our uniforms were good protection but maybe they weren't the prettiest things," H.N. "Rusty" Russell said of those times. But that is only the beginning of the inspirational story.

Those "ragnots" learned how to overcome obstacles and how to be successful in life. The Channel 2 in Houston special, "The Eyes of Texas," hosted by Bill Balleza, noted of that "for the record, (of the Home Kids) there were nine United States judges, four United States Army generals, five ministers, 47 medical doctors, lawyers and university presidents." Jim Dent adds that additionally there were mayors, two NFL stars (Hardy Brown and DeWitt Coulter), a nuclear physicist that worked with Robert Oppenheimer and Albert Einstein, teachers and educators, a 35-year Marine career ending as Lieutenant Colonel, corporate CEOs and company presidents, and many, many students went on to earn graduate degrees.

The individual stories and careers are too numerous to tell but the whole school was sort of a bunch of ragnots with every excuse and reason for failure but the fact is the school cared, the teachers cared and the students did enough with it that they went on to become very important people in the world, their community and it didn't have to be that way. The Home repeatedly turned out great people who valued integrity, learning, perseverance and character. The impressive records of success can only be attributed to the players in the story -- the administrators and the children at The Home. The kids say things like "Mr. Russell is the finest man I ever knew" and "there were teachers we loved like Mrs. Glick and those who she hired to teach". The administrators say it was the kids, who were ready to learn and appreciated opportunities and relationships with mentors. What it was is a magical combination of both. The story is about a specific place, a specific time, willing recipients with their hearts in the right place and people willing to give beyond the norm. With that combintion, you have something that rarely happens. And it did.

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Anonymous Gus said...

Thanks for taking time to write this story. I'm sure it will make a fine film. Growing up in Ft. Worth and playing schoolboy football there I knew of the Masonic Home from reading the Ft. Worth High School football records in various publications. However, when I played in the early sixties, I had no knowledge of what they were doing or who they were playing then. So, in my mind the Masonic Home was one of those footnotes in local history...a factoid with no detail. Thanks for providing some of the detail. Gus

April 24, 2010 at 9:02 PM  

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