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I had no money to renew my worn-out clothes. And in those days I became an artist with a needle. I could put as nice a patch on the elbow of my coat sleeve and elsewhere as any woman. And when the feet of my socks would no longer hold darning, I would cut them off and sew two legs together, sew up one end, and wear them that way. And at the wash tub, there was not in all the South a black mammy that could beat me. I bought me a set of smoothing irons and with the exception of my collars and occasionally a shirt I ironed all my clothes. I also pressed my coat and trousers. And by pressing now and then for others I would bring a twenty-five 107 cent piece to my depleted purse. But there were homesickness and heart aches. There was no going home Christmas and other vacations. And more than once my hope was almost gone. And ofttimes when my room-mate had gone to sleep I would slip away into the darkness to the old Baptist Tabernacle, that once stood where the First Baptist Church now stands, and pray till far into the night for God to help me hold on and to open up some way. I well remember one morning after a night of wrestling, my room-mate approached me and asked if I needed any money, saying that his parents had sent him more than was necessary for his immediate needs. I told him my condition. He gladly lent me enough to pay up my board for another month.

This ended my first year. The delayed check from the church enabled me to return home, where I spent the summer at hard work. I had had a taste of college life. I had also tried my mettle, and was now determined to finish. The church again promised to continue its help.

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Therefore, I came back that fall, but with a more hopeful outlook. Soon after my return I found a good home three miles out from the college where I could work for my board, and also some clerical work. I notified the church that I could get along without their help, thanking them for what they had done for me and asking that they help someone else as they had me. This they did. The nature of the 108 work I did in this home was very much like that I did while in high school. I continued to work here for three years.

After staying in this home a year and at the close of my freshman year, the pastor of the East Waco Church, where I worshiped and taught an adult Bible class, had to give up his work because of ill health. Though I had never been ordained, but had tried to preach a few times, the church asked that I supply the pulpit till they could get a pastor. I agreed to do so. They paid me ten dollars per Sunday for my service, which lasted for six months. But I continued working for my board, fearing to give up the place lest somebody else would have it when I got through with the church. Besides, by doing this, and with that forty dollars per month for six months, I was able to pay the fifty dollars I owed the bank, provide myself with some necessary things, continue my college work during the summer term and have enough to return for my sophomore year.

However, all this work was not done without some embarrassment, especially at first. This family for whom I worked were in good circumstances financially and were members of that church. Ofttimes on Sunday morning after I had done their chores, dressed in my blue “Carhartt” overalls, I would hitch their horse to the carriage for them to go to church. Then I would put on my best clothes and go and get in the pulpit and preach to them. 109 But these proved to be some of the best friends I ever had.

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Thus, by means of plenty of hard work, it was made easier for me to stay in college. When I ceased my service for the East Waco Church I was called to serve a small suburban church for one-half time for ten dollars per month. After a while they increased this to fifteen. In my junior year I was called to another church, sixty miles out from Waco, for the other two Sundays at twenty-five dollars per month. At the close of my junior year I gave up working for my board, devoting all my energies to my college and church work. Also at the close of my junior year I was awarded the first holder of the M. H. Wolfe scholarship of two hundred and fifty dollars to be used during my senior year. During this year I had smooth sailing.

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At the close of my senior year I was awarded the E. L. Marston scholarship of two hundred and fifty dollars to Brown University, Providence, R. I. I again spent my summer working hard and then borrowed two hundred dollars that I might supplement this scholarship and go to Brown for my A.M. work. I had become so accustomed to working during both school and vacation that I might stay in school, I continued to do so while in Brown and on through my seminary year. After taking my A.M., I returned to Brown for a second year of postgraduate work. This last year I made an average of ninety-five dollars per month while also carrying on my university studies. 110

The next year I went to the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, Louisville, Ky. The first year I was there I finished the Th.M. degree, and pastored a half-time church outside of Louisville. I returned to the Seminary a second year, completed the class work and stood the examination for the postgraduate Th.D. course. I expect later to submit my thesis for that degree.

Through it all I got a full share of college and seminary life and spirit. The knowledge, inspiration and visions of life were but a part of what I got. There were also close friendships and insight into human nature. I also had my part of college fun and got my share of class and student honors. It was not necessary to be, as some may think, a mere grind.

Thus I have told you the story of how I got my education. I was twenty-three when I left home to begin in the sixth grade. I was thirty-three the day before I received my Th.M. degree from the Seminary. And one year later I left the schoolroom with a younger spirit, a broader vision, better equipped to continue my place in the service of humanity and God.

During it all I borrowed only two hundred and fifty dollars. At the end I had paid this back and paid for fifty acres of land. My father never helped me a cent. He was not able at first. But he did appreciate my struggle, and late in my college course came to me and said that he was in better 111 circumstances and if I ever got to where I could not go myself to let him know. I never got to that place. He asked for the pleasure of making me a present of my first college diploma. I gladly gave him this pleasure. The departure of that hurt and disappointed look on his face, in knowing that I was somehow getting what he wanted me to have, has repaid me a thousand times for all the struggles I have had to make unsupported by him.

You may think that my being a minister and the salary from preaching made it easier for me than it would be for others. But this is not necessarily true. For if you will note, the work that I did was the work that anyone can do and it was up to and through my high school, subfreshman and freshman years in college that I had such a hard struggle. And it was after this time that I ever received a cent for preaching. Moreover, for two years of my time at Baylor I had to pay my tuition, one year by working in the Library, the other with a scholarship. And at Brown University no free tuition is given; preachers and all pay alike.

There is a college education for every man. And all that is needed for the acquiring of such is an uncompromising desire and purpose and strength of body and mind.

Rock Hill, S. C.

A FAITH “DIVINELY SIMPLE”

REV. S. F. NICKS, A.B.