You might say that Harold (BA ’49, JD ’51) and Bettye (BA ’46) Green are the Baylor Homecoming king and queen.
They won’t be crowned this weekend. The Homecoming court will, in fact, be several decades younger than Harold and Bettye. But you’d be hard-pressed to deny them the title when you learn that they’ve been as constant a presence as football and parades; this weekend will mark the 68th consecutive Baylor Homecoming they’ve attended.
“We came to our first one after we were married on March 22, 1946,” Bettye says. “It’s just a habit. There’s nowhere else we’d want to go.”
The Greens make the 345-mile trek from their home in Tahoka, Texas (30 miles south of Lubbock) for nearly every home Baylor football game, with Homecoming weekend serving as the highlight of every autumn. Of course, you don’t attend an event for nearly 70 years without a close call here and there. Harold and Bettye remember twice thinking they might not make it.
“Many years ago, I was working on a trial,” remembers Harold, an attorney. “The judge knew I loved Baylor and wanted to go to Homecoming. He told me, ‘I’ll tell you on Friday if I think you’ll be able to make it. But tell your wife to pack and be ready just in case.’ I didn’t think it was going to happen. But late that Friday afternoon, he called me over and said, ‘Call your wife. Tell her you all are going to Waco at 5 o’clock.’ And we drove there that night and were there for the game the next day.”
Bettye overcame a major injury in 1986 to keep the streak alive. “I broke my hip and was in the hospital for three weeks,” she says. “That was in early October. Thankfully, Homecoming was in late October that year. Just before the weekend, I got out of the hospital, I got a wheelchair, and I told the doctor, ‘We’re going.’ And sure enough, we made it. We sat in the handicapped section and made it just fine.”
For Harold and Bettye, the chance to attend another Homecoming is a connection not only to their past, but to the institution that remains an integral part of their lives.
“I can’t explain it,” Harold says. “When you’re from Baylor, you’re from somewhere special. People know us as the Baylor couple. So many of our classmates aren’t around anymore. We just enjoy being able to still come.”
Sic ’em, Harold and Bettye!