At the end of a pleasant interview about his life and times since the 1940s, Bell County physician Dr. William B. Long -- aka Bro. Short Nose -- happily pulls out his beloved Nose derby, plunger and pajama tops to pose serenely for photographs outside his Belton home.
He'll gladly talk about both of his careers, too -- after all, his life serves as the ... ahem ... bridge between Nose and NoZe.
In fall 1941, Long was just another junior at Baylor University. He simultaneously pledged Chamber of Commerce and the Nose Brotherhood at a time when the two organizations were the most powerful on campus. The Lorde Mayor suggested that Long invite Waco's flashy Moore High School band to march in the segregated Baylor Homecoming parade.
"I called the principal at Moore High and told him I was from the Baylor Chamber of Commerce," Long recalls. "I didn't say I was representing the Chamber of Commerce, I said I was from Baylor Chamber of Commerce. I didn't say anything about the Nose Brotherhood. They were happy to march, and that was the original integration of the Baylor Homecoming parade. We thought it would be a fun thing if we integrated it with them being a part of the Nose Brotherhood, too."
For Long, the Nose served both a social and serious function. They had the best parties (the only ones that featured "vertical calisthenics" -- to music) and they indulged in Long's favorite pastime of afflicting the comfortable and comforting the afflicted.
"We wrote articles and put them in The Lariat that kidded the administration or the other organizations on campus that were more formal," he says. "That's always been part of the philosophy -- to shoot at the people who think they're top-notch."
But when Uncle Sam called soon thereafter, Long found himself being shot at rather than doing the shooting. He survived a stint in the Army, went into dentistry and then, using the G.I. Bill, attended medical school. Upon graduation, he moved to Belton to care for his ailing parents and open a general surgical office. Along the way, he married Mary Cole Farrow. Long retired in 2001 after 50 years in medical practice. Through the years, he never lost touch with Baylor, and he served on the Board of Regents at the request of former President Herbert H. Reynolds.
"I thought I was out of place, but I didn't think there was anybody who loved Baylor any more than I did," Long says. "That kept me in contact with everything going on during the nine years I was on the board." Not only did all four of the Longs' children graduate from Baylor, all but one of their grandchildren have attended Baylor as well. "The family has gotten their enthusiasm for Baylor from me," he says. In fact, the Longs have donated generously to a multitude of Baylor projects, including several scholarship funds and building campaigns. They were honored as a First Family of Baylor in 1994.
In 1997, the Longs published a breezy history titled The Nose Brotherhood Knows: A Collection of Nothings and Non-Happenings, 1926-1965, compiled from articles from The Lariat and other newspapers, The Round Up, Pink Tea invitations, personal reminiscences and a snippy letter from Dean W.C. Perry suspending the Brotherhood on April 5, 1965, for "recent incidents involving student discipline."
The release of the book coincided with a reunion of old Noses and their decision to return something to the University. "I started asking people, 'Do you know anybody else who's in the Nose Brotherhood?'" Long says. "It turned out that there were a whole bunch of professional men around who had some money, and we gave the elevator in the new Student Life Building." A plaque in the elevator reads, "The Nose knows which way is up."
Long still was on the board when incoming President Robert B. Sloan Jr. formally invited the NoZe (spelled with a 'z' after 1965) to return to campus. In return, Dr. Sloan was named an "ornery" member -- Bro. Liniment NoZe. Alas, relations have continued to be rocky between the Brotherhood and Baylor, but Long still believes there is a place for the NoZe. "I think Baylor needs some of the ribbing that the NoZe Brotherhood provides in a clean, fun sort of way," he says. "It adds flavor to the campus."
Long met with a contingent of current NoZe brothers last fall. "I told the new guys, 'You need to get out from behind your disguises so that the things you do and say will be thought through and will be more socially acceptable. When I was in the Brotherhood, we were all proud to be known as Nosemen. You guys won't dare show your faces to your friends or the professors. You need to get rid of the disguises so people know who you are and you can be proud of it.'"
Is having the NoZe Brotherhood on campus worth the occasional heartache? "I think it is a service," Long says. "It does leaven the bread a little, but it has to be done in the right manner, in the right spirit."