In his own words, Matt Delmas “has a thing
for old things.” He doesn’t throw stuff away.
In 1979, Delmas was with a friend in an auto
junkyard in Central Texas.While his friend
searched for a fender, Delmas looked around
at the abandoned cars. He doesn’t remember
the model or year of the car, maybe a model
from the 1950s or 60s, but through the
window, where the back seat once was, he
saw papers and his curiosity got the best of
him. He reached into the car and pulled out
two notebooks. Last summer, as he poked
around in his garage among skis from the
s and other treasures, he came across
the notebooks. He knew his children would
have no use for them, but couldn’t stand to
throw them away. One notebook had Wichita
Falls Junior College written with flourish
underneath the student’s name. Delmas did
some research and found that Wichita Falls
Junior College was now Midwestern State
University, and thought that someone at
MSU might be interested in the notebooks.
The notes belonged to Robert E. Taylor and
Anthony Newby Staton. No information can
be found on Taylor, but Staton graduated
Sketches of paramecium, amoeba, and other microscopic life are
neatly drawn in the corner of one note page. “Friday 13” is sketched in
expressive outlined print to mark the unlucky day. The student’s name is
written all through the notebook, perfecting his autograph maybe? Some
signatures are written with flourish, others more subdued – doodles
passing the time while listening to lectures. These notes could be from
any one of today’s students, but they were taken more than 80 years
ago, written from 1927 into the 1930s.
fromWichita Falls High School in 1927 then
entered Wichita Falls Junior College, only five
years after its beginning. Although records show
Staton graduated in 1929, some education notes
are dated 1933. On notebook pages now yellowed
around the edges, “Muggs” Staton practiced his
signature over and over, sometimes extending the
last leg of the M in Muggs as long as his G’s. He
crossed the two T’s in Staton with one single line.
If he used his given name, Newby, he would begin
the N with an elongated flourish.
Staton and Taylor would have attended classes in
the Wichita Falls High School building on Avenue
H. Their instructors would have included names
familiar to us today. Mamie Raborn, for whom the
Mamie Raborn Center for Economic Education
is named, taught economics and history. Longtime
Wichita Falls educator Dr. Madge Davis taught
English, and