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I enjoyed my years in college—the classes, the study, hard work, tight schedules, the friends, the social life. Well, there wasn’t too much of the latter, because I was usually short of funds.

One thing I did budget for was the open dances at the Aggieland Ballroom. The dances were open to couples, of course, but also to singles like me. Real bands, lots of fun.  

Once in my freshman year I received an invitation to a formal dance (as a single) which I had to reluctantly decline—no tux. But I started planning.   

The next year I was ready. When I received an invitation to a formal dance from a sorority (they liked to have extra males around who could dance), I was ready. I sent a postcard to my cousins Jack and Bill in Kansas City (who were my age and my size): “Send me your tux!”  

I wrote to dad: “Please send me your black shoes and black socks.” Within days the tux, shoes and socks arrived. By good fortune, and the fact I picked up and delivered for a local dry cleaners, they had given me an unclaimed tux shirt.   

The dance was a lot of fun. The girls were nice and one told me how sharp I looked in my tux. I never told her the truth even though it happened once again. 

My only out of pocket was for the studs and cuff links which, fortunately, became an investment in future formals, just as I had hoped.  And there was a bit for postage the day after the dance to return the tux and shoes. And two 1-cent postcards. 

I was always grateful to dad for his shoes and Jack and Bill for the use of their tux—and the prompt deliveries. It sure enhanced my social life. The tux must have dressed up Jack and Bill too, I’m sure. There were years of enjoyment for the three of us, all for only five bucks at a pawn shop down on Prospect Avenue in Kansas City. 

Ray Maldoon

Ray Maldoon served in the U. S. Army from 1943-46 and later worked for the Research Department of a major oil company.

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