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October 14, 2013

 Do Kids Still Play with Bugs?
by Tommy Towery
Class of '64

        The other day when I was having work done on my air conditioner for the fourth time this summer I overheard a conversation between the older technician and his young apprentice. The subject of the matter was about how in his younger days the older man would catch a June Bug and tie a string around his leg and wear him around like a pet. I don’t think the younger fellow even knew what a June Bug was, let along comprehend the concept of why anyone would want to do that.


        In my own youth, I called bright green fat insects June Bugs. My first ex-wife always called the smaller brown beetle looking bugs the same thing and we often argued about who was correct. The fact was, it didn’t really matter, but some things you grow up with just seem to stick with you your whole life - things like calling a water hose a “hose pipe.”  I looked up the insect of my youth and found it called a Green June Beetle. My reference states that "Green June beetle adults are velvet green with orange or rust stripes along the outer margins of the wing covers. Beetles may be 1/2 to nearly 1 inch long. Peak beetle flights begin during late June, thus the common southeastern name, June bug." So, I state my case. For the counterpart, in many parts of the country the brown beetles are also called June bugs. For the record, all June bugs belong to a large group of insects called scarab beetles.


        Anyway, I did not enter the conversation with the air conditioner pair, because I did not want to distract them from their primary job of getting my unit that has been giving us trouble all year fixed. But I do remember the fun of tying a string around the critter’s leg and pinning it to my shirt with a safety pin. I am quite sure this was a male thing. In the recesses of my mind, I even remember wearing one to school at East Clinton Street and not getting into trouble for doing so. Ever so often the green beetle would flap its wing furiously and take to the sky trying to escape the bonds of my shirt only to get redirected in his flight when he reached the end of the string. It would fly around in circles for a while and then either hang upside down and worn out at the end of the string, or light upon my body somewhere and crawl back to the top of my shoulder to gain a height advantage for the next escape attempt.


        Now in my best recollection, at the end of the day or when I got tired of the game, I would release the bug back into the real world for him to deal with whatever a day in the life of a bug holds. For me and my friends, it was a cheap way to spend a couple of hours in a time before video games and PS3 or Gameboys dominated the idle time of young children.


        I cannot help but wonder who else remembers this fun activity and if it is still carried on by today’s youth. My search on had several videos posted, including the following one:

June Bug on a String


        Memphis, TN - Once again we are with air conditioning. The Summer of '13 will come to be known in the Towery household as the Year of the Heat. But now that football season is back, we need it to be a little cooler. Football is a time for cool Autumn nights. Sue and I are enjoying a couple of weeks at home before we begin our next adventure and are trying to use some of the football season tickets that we can't use when we are out of town.
        The controversy about the formatting is about done and people still seem to appreciate the content even if they are having a little trouble getting used to the format. I continue to work on the In Memory Of section of the website and thanks to some help from Tom Provost, it should be finished before too long. I still did not hear from anyone about the information I requested about Annette McCraney, Class of '64, so please help me out if you know anything.

Class of ‘64
50 Year Reunion
by Linda Taylor
Class of '64

        I have had lots of questions asking if we are going to have a Special 50th Reunion for our class. Unfortunately, it falls before the scheduled 2015 event for all three classes, '64, '65 and '66.

        The ’64 Reunion Committee have said they are all in agreement to do this: JR Brooks, Alice G Preston, Linda Lee Norris, Linda Taylor, Mike Smith, and Jerry Brewer.  I have heard from everyone except Jerry, and we all agree we want to do this!  I would like to have your input on this because it will take some planning, money and time on both sides.

        Anyone in the '64 Class that did not get the email Announcement/Survey about the 50th Special Reunion in 2014, please contact Linda Taylor at, 256-469-7567 to leave a message (leave updated email address) or 256-509-7723 to contact. Thank You.

 Your Favorite Songs Prior
To High School Graduation
Featuring Purple in the Title  

Deep Purple

        Tommy Towery, LHS '64 - Here are the two purple songs that I came up without having to search. My first choice is the smooth sound of Nino Tempo and April Stevens "Deep Purple." You may not recall, but it was at the top of the charts in the US the day President Kennedy was assassinated. Nino Tempo & April Stevens (born Antonino and Carol LoTempio) are a brother and sister singing act from Niagara Falls, New York. Formed in the early 1960s when Nino Tempo and April Stevens signed as a duo with Atco Records, the group had a string of Billboard hits and earned a Grammy Award as "best rock & roll record of the year" for the single "Deep Purple".

Purple People Eater

        The second song that instantly came to my mind was "Purple People Eater" by Sheb Wooley. Shelby F. "Sheb" Wooley (April 10, 1921 – September 16, 2003) was a character actor and singer, best known for his 1958 novelty song "The Purple People Eater". He played Ben Miller, brother of Frank Miller in the film High Noon, played Travis Cobb in The Outlaw Josey Wales, and also had a co-starring role as scout Pete Nolan in the television program Rawhide. In the 1940s, Wooley took an interest in his wife's young cousin, Roger Miller, who also grew up in Erick, Oklahoma. Wooley taught Miller how to play guitar chords and bought him a fiddle. In the late 1950s, Wooley embarked on a recording career of his own with the song that made him famous, "The Purple People Eater". He followed with a series of lesser novelty hits. Wooley wrote the theme song for the long-running television show Hee Haw.


        Mike Boggs, LHS '64 - The only song from back in the days that I can think of is "Purple People Eater" by Sheb Wooly...1958?


        Chip Smoak, LHS '66 - There was a novelty tune back in the 50s that I liked about the One-eyed, One-horned Flying Purple People Eater.  It had a good beat and cute lyrics. 


        Jeff Fussell, LHS '66 - Purple, is it? The first thing I thought of (of course) was Sheb Wooley’s 1958 novelty hit, “The Purple People Eater”. It was one of a a handful of novelty songs that actually charted #1. In the more traditional music genre, I really liked the two part harmony of Nino Tempo and April Stevens. A big hit for them in 1963 was a pop cover of the Bing Crosby standard “Deep Purple”.


What Was Your Favorite Song Prior

To High School Graduation
Featuring  Yellow  in the Title


         Remember, it does not have to be a song that came out while you were in high school but only one that was a favorite before you graduated from high school. This is basically any song that you liked before you graduated. (or left school).


 Email me with your picks




From Our Mailbox 



Subject:    Color Songs

John Drummond

LHS '66


        This has been a lot of fun, especially watching/listening to the music videos; really takes me back to some great times. 




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