Fighting Retiree Boredom
by Tommy Towery
Class of '64
Last week I received the story below in an email from a friend. When I first read it I laughed and then I thought I would share it with you in a special way. After you read the story, I want you to email me with the name of one of our classmates who you think would be most likely to do this in real life, and why you selected the person you did. Any similar tales would be greatly appreciated.
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A few days ago my best friend from high school sent me a 'Viet Nam Veteran' cap. I never had one of these before, and I was pretty hyped about it, especially because my friend was considerate enough to take the time to send it to me.
God forgive me, but I couldn't pass up such an opportunity. "1936," I answered as straight-faced as possible.
"Dude! Really?" he exclaimed. "How did you get to do something that COOOOL?"
"Oh yeah?" he gave me the 'don't threaten me look.' "Like, what's gonna happen if I do?"
I just grinned at her.
Escondido, CA - Been visiting the family in California again and enjoying the grandkids and nice weather, which is much different than the South this last week. Not much news to share but all is well and that is important.
From Our Mailbox
Subject: Tommy Esslinger
I was so sorry to hear of the passing of Tommy Esslinger. He was someone who's courage to overcome and sparkling personality always impressed me. Having raised a physically handicapped child that had the same tenacity and outgoing personality of Tommy, I often thought of him through the years as I raised my son. Having been physically active in my youth and young adult years; I was not prepared to raise a physically handicapped child. I had to learn patience and humility as I watched and listened to the sometimes hurts and frustrations of my son, who could not run and play like the other kids. Who often was shunned because he was different or could not keep up. And those were the times I really thought back on Tommy never realizing then, but knowing now, how much he probably had been hurt and disappointed. One of my favorite scriptures is Romans 5: 3-5 "...we also rejoice in our suffering, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit." Tommy may have had a physical limitation in life but because of it, or maybe in spite of it, he had character, perseverance and hope. And best of all he had the love of Teresa his friends, his family and the love of many in the Lee Fami-lee. It is very fulfilling to know that now he is with Lord and walks erect and with joy in knowing he has run the race in life and heard the words "well done good and faithful servant."
Wednesday, February 26, 1964
57th Day - 309 days to follow
After school I went to Mullin's then caught a bus from there to the Heart of Huntsville. Got a haircut then went over to Bell Brothers Shoe Store and talked to Troy till 5:45 P.M. Helen K. and Jean S. came in for a while and I caught a ride to town as they went. Stopped in the Grand News Stand and got a Classic Illustrated funny book of Castle Dangerous for a book report. Then went to the library and checked out Seven Days in May. Met Ronnie H. there and we went to dance team practice at the Naval Reserve.
Left at 7:30 P.M. and went to the Central "Y" for a Hi-Y meeting. Only three members showed up. Terry P., Donald B., and myself. Donald brought me home after the meeting.
Wrote Don a letter and started reading Seven Days in May. It's 11:15 P.M. maintenant et je desire aller a cruche. Pardon mon spelling de les mots, si vous plat.
In college we had Cliff Notes and Monarch Notes to help us through the assignments we were too busy or too lazy to complete as they were assigned. In high school I used Classic Illustrated comic books for the same purpose. I grew up calling comic books by the term “funny books,” I guess because of their similarity in design to the comic strips in the funny papers in the daily newspaper. I am not sure if that was a regional slang term or more universal than I think, but the terms were interchangeable to me.
I cannot say for sure the thought process behind the creators of Classic Illustrated books, but they were the Reader’s Digest version of the classics for most teens. They were easy to read and with the illustrations, easy to understand. I was not alone in the utilization of these short graphic versions of sometimes long and hard to read books given as reading assignments in classes and requiring a book report as evidence that the story has been consumed. In looking back at this, I find I didn’t recall either the book or the author until I looked it up again and found it was penned by Sir Walter Scott. I can only think the reason I picked this book was due to the small list of available titles on the shelf at the newsstand and the time restraints of the assignment.
Comic books were cherished possessions in my childhood and many were read and swapped and swapped again until the covers hung by a single spike of a rusted staple. Action hero books and newspaper comic strip characters were the most popular subjects. My personal favorite comic book hero was “Blackhawk” who lead a group of aviators in search of adventure and fighting for the American cause. When I first started buy comic books they sold for 10 cents each and later went up to 12 cents.
I, like many of my friends, wish I had saved all the ones I once owned, for today they are highly collectable and if I had the current value of all I once owned I could add a large sum of money to my retirement nest egg.
Today you can still find some comic books, but more often today they are called graphic novels. The type of books we bought for 10 cents when I was 10, now sells for $3.99 or higher. Used copies of the 1964 versions start around $3.49 on eBay.
LEE HIGH SCHOOL'S
FIRST GRADUATING CLASS OF 1964
50 year Reunion
We will be celebrating the First Graduating Class of one of Huntsville’s Historic High Schools on
September 26-27, 2014
ALL 1965, 1966,
AND OTHER cLASSES
ARE ALSO wELCOME
ACOMMODATIONS AVAILABLE: Blocked Rooms at the Embassy Suites: 20 suites blocked; 1964 1ST priority;
$119.00/night, must reserve early; rooms will not be held until Sept; specify LHS 50th Reunion Code#636
Class of '64 - 50th Reunion
Class of '68 - '69 - '70 Reunion
(Click on Upcoming Events in the Left Column
Near Top of Page)
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