Early graduate recalls precious memories despite depression

Lucille Malone Bailey had a unique look at Wayland Baptist University as a child, growing up in Plainview close to the campus. Her father, R.C. Malone, was a ministerial student at Wayland while she was at Plainview High, and he served as a yell leader on the campus. Her relationship with the school goes way back.

"When I was just a little girl, I could walk over to Wayland and attend things there without any problems," recalls Lucille, now retired and living in Houston. "I was saved during a revival in the Gates Hall auditorium at age seven."

After high school graduation in 1931, Lucille followed in her father's footsteps by enrolling in WBC and serving as a yell leader, donning a heavy sweater since the role didn't really involve uniforms at that time. She earned her associate's degree in 1933 and continued at Baylor to earn a degree in education.

Retired from a teaching career in various cities, Lucille is a long way from her college years. But armed with her scrapbook of the experience – donated years ago to the WBU Library archives since the school did not produce one in the two years of the heavy depression era - the memories came flooding back. She saved gum wrappers, tickets, invitations and many letters in the book, along with photos of groups and students on campus. All speak to a rich experience she remembers fondly.
The teachers were known for their knowledge and their encouragement, much like the testimonies of today's students.

"Mr. Warren was quite a teacher… all those people were. He knew his stuff from the first page to the last," she recalled. "Mrs. Warren was a real lady of grace. She taught with quietness and ease."

Dr. McDonald, the university's president, doubled as a math teacher, and Lucille took trigonometry from him, remembering the professor as "patient but exacting." Mostly she recalls the spirit with which the faculty taught, especially when the last bank in town closed and the university literally had no money.

"They did work for no pay. I don't know how they got by but they just wanted to," she said. "I don't think it really affected us because we weren't used to having any money anyway. You wonder how Wayland made it, but it was just what God wanted."

Despite the tight financial times, Lucille recalls the usual college fun at Wayland. Students enjoyed ball games regularly and attended the Black Cat Nightclub, a banquet held in Nunn Gymnasium and decorated with black crepe paper. Admission was 35 cents. Boys living on the third floor of Gates Hall amused themselves by playing "hockey" down the hall with a broom, and the literary societies were active debate clubs.

While a student, Bailey worked in the business office for half her tuition. In her spare time, she was a member of a singing quartet that presented programs on the radio and performed for high school banquets and at many churches. They traveled around the region when requested, serving as ambassadors for Wayland.

"We went everywhere in the college's Ford, if it would get us there," she laughed. "We rarely got there without some trouble with the Ford. We really had a good time while we lasted."

Bailey said the campus now is very different from the three buildings that made up Wayland during her time there. But she's been a fan and supporter for years and has enjoyed watching the university flourish and grow.

Her fondest memory of those days is "the homeyness and the wonderful feeling of being in the group."

"It was just all of us, and since there were so few of us, it had to be!" she said with a smile. "Knowing the hardships the faculty was going through made it seem that much more special to us, like we were there for a reason."

Two other Malone siblings attended Wayland, and all earned a college degree.