GROWING UP in Beaumont, the color purple never appealed much to me. That was the color and the label for students and their athletic representatives at Beaumont High School—they were the Royal Purples, in fact. Their theme song in the 1950s was Deep Purple.
I wasn’t embarrassed that my mother had graduated as a Royal Purple in 1929 after the family moved down from Vernon Parish in Louisiana to hunt work, but neither was that a redemption because the geography of our home on Wilson Street made me a French High Buffalo, and we preferred orange. Likely some early principal of the place had attended the University of Texas.
ON THE south side of town, Judy grew up a Greenie, the color and name of students at South Park High School. I’ve never succeeded in getting even one of them to explain what a Greenie really is: they just look mysterious and exclusive and nose-in-the-air like, and say, “you have to be one to know.”
Well, I’m here to claim—and concede—that purple has prevailed. Really, Purple has conquered the world. Purple is the mainest color of Stephen F. Austin State University, where I have earned a salary for a good long time and I’m hoping to extend that tenure by wearing purple at least every Friday. Since Monique Cossich joined us as chief recruiter, I think you might get thrown in the Ag Pond on campus if you don’t wear purple on Friday.
TOO, PURPLE is the dominant color of our friendly Southland Conference rivals, the Demons of Northwestern Louisiana University in Natchitoches and of my alma mater, Louisiana State University, Cotton Bowl champs for 2011.
If you watch Face The Nation on CBS of a Sunday morning, most weeks host Bob Schieffer wears a Purple necktie because he hails from Fort Worth, home of Texas Christian University—who are the Rose Bowl champs for 2011, by the way—and home of the Bob Schieffer School of Journalism. Purple is TCU’s main color.
After a recent fact-finding tour of fashion centers in Florence and Paris, which mostly consisted of window shopping because we could not afford much they sell inside, I guarantee that Purple ties, gloves, handbags, lady’s jackets, spiked heels and such dominate all other colors.
Even if fashion moves on to fuchsia or some other hue, Purple will always be prominent in Nacogdoches and Baton Rouge.
Even a Greenie looks great in Purple.
Archie P. McDonald is a professor of history and Community Liaison at Stephen F. Austin State University. His commentaries can be heard each Friday morning at 7:35 on Red River Radio, KDAQ 89.9 FM.