If Mr. Correll was
father-figure to a thousand students, then certainly, Dr. Wall was the
favorite uncle. This was what enabled him to get implemented the things he
wanted to do directly at the beginning of his job at Chilocco Indian School
in the year of 1956.
He never intimidated
me. The mature man treated me much like my family would have. I was
willing to do whatever he put in front of me, no matter how little I
understood what the work involved. One by one the larger than legal forms
were inserted into the long carriage of a manual typewriter in order to be
filled out. This was the beginning of the paper work required to record,
list, document all the education each and every one hundered and twenty-one
employee on campus had or didn't have. These requirements were necessary to
see that the school became a fully accredited high school. It never occurred
to me to wonder why someone in plant maintenance would need to have all
their certification listed. It was simply on the form and had to be
completed. If that person was lacking in one or another schooling then it
was his business to necessarily go for classes to get that certificate. In
my youthful place it was easy for me to call that person to arrange for a
time to bring in the papers when they had them in their hand. Those
employees were glad to comply with a secretary who was obviously a kid and
only following directions. Their ego was not a bit bruised. Dr. Wall was
quick in using me in that way. Probably if the regular secretary had been on
duty it wouldn't have gone so smoothly. There might have been all kinds of
back tracking and trying to cover over this or that missing paperwork. In a
way this was a good preparation for them as well as the school. It wasn't
for less than twenty years the school closed but an employee forced out of
work by that closing did have his qualifications in hand. I knew none of
this. It was my duty to do the typing, fill out the forms and track and back
track each and every employee to get everything done.
Some in the office
were like wall-eyed horses as they kept looking askance at the particular
project. At the time I didn't understand this either. Such are the
blessings of youth.
Another project Dr. Wall
had was the cleaning out of the file cabinets. This was not so easy. It was
a tedious work to sort things in order to send valuable records to the Ft.
Worth National Archives and to discard other things that were, maybe just
one, sheet of paper with one line. No names, dates, or particular
understanding involved made the information useless. The former secretary
now on leave was skilled, grounded in the meticulous, regarding government
regulations, person. Never would she have attempted such a thing. Paperwork
can be sacred to a certain worker. Because I had nothing like this in my
mentality, Dr. Wall used my hands to work through all of it. In fact one of
the older secretaries still living on campus was so outraged at the work she
made it her business to walk into the office and quietly complain.
“What is happening to
the files?” She asked
Remember the former
encounter with a sage department head? I was equally as careful of this
woman. She had worked a life time in the office and I wasn't about to cross
“Dr. Wall is sending
them to Ft. Worth to the archives.” It was my turn to look at her like a
“Are you sure he isn't
just throwing them away?” Her level look made me know I had better make no
bones in a straight answer.
“Oh yes, I'm sure.” I
reached down to the stack of papers to be discarded and pulled a sick little
record with nothing but one line stating one of the students had reported to
the hospital that morning. No name and no date made it worth nothing. Of
course there was a hospital from early on so that wasn't even a vital
record. I then pointed to the other pile of paper work all bundled and
addressed with the Ft. Worth address.
The woman, who was now
becoming elderly and full of wisdom, seemed to be satisfied. She didn't even
request to see Dr. Wall as she turned to leave. I was relieved.
Years later after the
closing when there was paper strewn all over the floor of the main office I
pointed this out to the caretaker. He bundled those up and mailed them to
Ft. Worth. One of the things he mailed was a huge, ancient book of records.
My grandmother's name was written in it with beautiful cursive. That is in
the archives, too.