My Dad grew up during the depression and World War II as the fourth son of a poor farming family in rural South Carolina. Life on the farm was tough and physically demanding. Later on in high school, as a 6’ 3” 195 pound bone crushing lineman, he was fortunate enough to win a football scholarship from Frank Howard after he witnessed Dad crush several North Carolina lineman in the 1949 Shrine Bowl.
Getting a chance to go to college was a big deal. It had rarely been done by many at the time and certainly never in our family. Dad was the first.
Clemson A&M College was all military at the time. One requirement was that you were to bring one certain size black footlocker. Everything you brought with you had to fit in that locker. That was the easy part for Dad. He had very little to put in that locker. In fact he didn’t have the money to buy said locker. Luckily his aunt did and she bought him this footlocker for graduation. Dad dutifully kept this footlocker during his entire four years at Clemson. It was there in the morning at Reveille and also there at night after a long day of football practice and study hall. It followed him during his time as a US Army officer and everywhere else after that.
Dad passed away in 2019. However his footlocker has continued to keep sentry in our attic patiently awaiting it’s next travel orders.
Well, the black footlocker’s new travel orders have arrived. This coming week, 73 years to the date of its first arrival at Clemson A&M College, black footlocker will be reporting for duty once again. This time to Clemson University with my daughter, another aspiring student athlete.
Hoping your daughter makes the same impact on Clemson and the school on her that your Dad experienced. There must be lots of stories corralled in the lining of that chest and surely there will be more. Wishing your daughter every success in her Clemson career and beyond.
“When my information changes, I alter my conclusions. What do you do, sir?”
John Maynard Keynes
“Anti-intellectualism has been a constant thread winding its way through our political and cultural life, nurtured by the false notion that democracy means that my ignorance is just as good as your knowledge.”
My grandfather enrolled at Duke in the mid 1920s. He was allowed a duffle bag and a foot locker. The foot locker was bigger than the duffle, so he packed his clothes in the duffle and stuffed the foot locker full of sweet potatos with which he could barter.