Saturday, May 2, 2015

Bryant Taylor’s College Years By Evelyn Taylor

Bryant Calkins Taylor was Aunt CB's first cousin. He was born in 1922 and was son of Floyd and Goldie Taylor, Floyd being twin to our Lloyd.

Floyd and his father, Bryant Waller Taylor in back
Sons Rexford and Bryant in front

His wife Evelyn tells of his many jobs during college:

In 1939 Bryant was the recipient of a New York State Scholarship to Albany State Teachers’ College, so there was no tuition to pay, but he had to work to cover board and room expenses.  His parents sent him $1.00 a week allowance, and his mother did his laundry (no Laundromats yet).  He mailed it home in a special plastic box for that purpose, and his mother returned it, washed and ironed.

 He had a job as a Page in the State Legislature at $30.00 per week for about 10 hours of work.  He delivered messages for the Republican legislator for whom he worked.  To get this job he was recommended by local Republican politicians of Le Roy who had interviewed him.  This was a fantastic job for those times!

Bryant, 1941

 Along with this job, he worked at a restaurant near campus called The Bull (probably named for the Boulevard where it was located).  He was a short-order cook and waiter. He said that he often filled the wrong order for sundaes and ended up being forced to eat the hot fudge sundae with pecans.

 At one time he had a job at a sorority house (”nice work if you can get it”), taking care of the coal furnace.  This furnace burned pea coal, which was a very small size.  One Saturday night Bryant really loaded the furnace to make the fire last the weekend.  The result was a fire in the chimney    and    a lost job!  However, before this incident, the girls taught him to dance.  I am forever grateful to them, for he was a superb dancer as I have said many times in my writings.

 Another food job was as a school cafeteria worker—getting there early and peeling bags and bags of potatoes.  This was preparation for KP duty in the army, although he did not know that at the time.

Bryant was a member of the national fraternity Kappa Delta Rho,Gamma chapter, but never lived in the fraternity house.  When I met him, he had a room in the basement of a brownstone house for students on Washington Avenue.  The landlord lived next door.  Actually, when I first went to Albany, no one was in the building except Bryant.  To me, it was a spooky place to live.

The ceiling was real low because of all the heating pipes; lighting was not bright; there were no windows; and there were many creaky sounds.  He had a small one-burner hot plate.  Working at the cafeteria and restaurant helped his food budget.  Although, even with those perks, he told of eating ketchup sandwiches.  But he gloried in his independence and once again he took care of a furnace and got his room at a reduced rate.

In the last term of his junior year, World War II raised its ugly head and disrupted his and many college students’ lives.  Bryant left Albany to go to Alfred University in Alfred, NY to take a 2-month radio course to better equip him for the army.  In June he finished the course and the following fall enlisted in the Signal Corps Reserves.  He continued with a radio/teletype course at the University of Rochester until being called up for active duty in June, 1943.

Bryant and his future wife, Evelyn at a U of R dance

     This is over sixty seven years after the events, and remembered by the second party as told to me or observed.  Details, I hope, are fairly accurate and valid.


Pat Herdeg said...

Love this story, Evelyn! How I wish I could have watched the two of you dance!


CB/ cousin said...

IF you have ever bseen anyone do professional "jitterbugging" dancing , then you have seen Bryant and Eve! They were fabulous! And slow danvcing was just as good! I envied them!
Actually, Bryant was our favorite "taylor" cousin! We did not have many , but he was a ton of fun! Always joking and pulling tricks! This gene he did not lose! I was able to visit them often during Bryants last illness and he was STILL pulling tricks even tho he was bed ridden!

Evelyn Taylor said...

Pat, Testing the new system. My comment is :where did you get those pictures?


Pat Herdeg said...


The picture of the three generations must have come from Mom. The other two came from you, I believe. Since I also have one from your wedding, you probably sent these two and the wedding photo when we wrote up your wedding. Nice to see you both so young!