I met my husband, Tommy Bragg, at the University of Tennessee in Knoxville in 1968.
Although I lived in Knoxville, I spent my first two years at Siena College, a girls school in Memphis. As a junior, I transferred to UT and lived in Sophronia Strong dorm. But, a week before classes started when I was a senior a friend, Maggie, called.
Maggie, always the mover and shaker said, “We have an opening for a counselor in the ﬁrst ever co-ed dorm. Would like to interview for the job?”
Would I like to interview the job?
I could not have afforded to live on campus that year and jumped at the opportunity.
That dormitory was a brand new Carrick Hall South. Carrick Hall North was the men’s side, and the halls could have been connected but were separated by a door. If there was a key, or if the door ever opened, I never saw it.
I did get the job, and on the ﬁrst days I worked the front desk one of the most attractive men I had ever seen before walked up to the desk.
The headmistress (Billie Jean Hash) said, “Why, hello, Richmond. How are you doing?”
That Richmond was Richmond Flowers, captain and quarterback of UT’s football team. And he had come to pick up his girlfriend.
I knew from then on it was going to be a fun ride.
In those days girls were actually only allowed on the girls side (and boys on the boys side), and fortunately drugs and trouble weren’t as rampart as they became in later years.
I was the counselor on the ninth ﬂoor of the girls side, and at the beginning of the second semester we were playing an intramural volleyball game of sorts and I met the counselor on the ninth ﬂoor of the boys side.
His name was Tommy Bragg.
I had first noticed Tommy in his dorm at Hess Hall the previous year (I was with another boyfriend), and when I asked Bill who he was, he said, “His name’s Tommy Bragg and all the girls like him.”
During the volleyball game we just kind of connected.
Tommy had just broken up with a girlfriend (he ALWAYS had girlfriends) and asked me for our first date on his 21st birthday to a UT-Vanderbilt basketball game.
We never had a date with anyone else after that.
I graduated a year before Tommy did and moved to Atlanta to work while he was a senior. We married the day he graduated from college and got commissioned in the Air Force in 1969.
Several years after we were married we were discussing our first date.
He didn’t remember it well, and I reminded him that his dad’s business partner (a Vandy fan) was there and we went to say hello to him.
Upon hearing that he immediately snapped his fingers and replied. “Oh yes, I remember. That’s the night Tommy Hagan (a Vandy player) lost his shoe and we won by two points.”
Tommy and I went to UT’s opening football game this year.
Although his blood truly does run blue now, we go to Knoxville several times each season. It iturns out to be true quality family time spent with our children and my family and many friends who come from far away.
I’m already beginning to feel too old to sit through a whole football game from start to finish, so I’ll enjoy it while I can.
But the real reward comes in feeling you can go home again.
’Til next week.