by Tommy Towery
Bob Ramsey, the president of the class of '64, came up to me as he was headed home and thanked me for such a great reunion. As I was trying to explain to him it was not me he needed to thank, he said his mother told him early in life that when someone thanked him for doing something he should just say “You’re welcome” and leave it at that. Even though this might not be the exact statement he made to me, it is the concept he was trying to make me aware of.
The statement came as an interruption of me trying to explain to him I only did a small part and did not deserve the credit since so many others had done more than me in planning and doing the things needed to be done to insure everyone had a memorable time.
So, I will follow Bob’s sage advice and say “You’re welcome” to all of you who thanked me for doing the part I did. It was my pleasure, but I cannot leave it at that. Sorry Bob. When it came down to the actual planning, I did little. I only did my best to publicize the event and encourage participation. Later I asked to be allowed to create a video memorial to remember the classmates we have lost since we graduated, and then was asked if I could come up with a short video presentation looking back at the time we spent at Lee. Even though I spent many hours working to select the music and content of the show, it was a labour of love and I had a great time working on it. I did a few things, but if the reunion was based only upon what I did, it would never have happened. I would have had no date to show the video, no place to show it, and no one to watch it since I did nothing to do any of those things which had to be done.
I don't know why everyone seemed to think I planned the reunion. I did not. I did my part, but that is all. I put a lot of time into making sure I did as good a job as I could in the assignment I was given, but I was not the reason the reunion was successful, or even why it ever came to be. I was only invited to join the committee well after the work began. First of all, I have to believe it was Linda Taylor who first came up the concept of us having a reunion on an odd year and not waiting until next year, which will be five years after our last reunion. Historically we have had planned combined reunions for the classes of ’64, ’65, and ’66, but since this was the year 1964’s class would actually celebrate 50 years, it was important for our classmates to be able to observe it on the actual year. Again, we want to insure the other classes this will not replace the reunion planned for next year, which will be the actual year for the class of ’65, or 2016 if the class of ’66 decides to celebrate their 50th reunion in a special manner.
So everyone should first thank Linda Taylor. Next you should thank Alice Gullion Preston, J.R. Brooks, Rainer Klauss, Jerry Brewer, Charlotte Massey, and Mike Smith for the physical arrangements, such as finding the wonderful facilities, the decorations, the caterers, and the entertainment needed to insure every base was covered. I know there are others who I might be omitting, but based on the fact I have only slept about four hours in the last 72, perhaps my omission will be forgiven.
Next, I cannot overlook Niles Prestage, class of ’65 and Judy Fedrowisch Kincaid class of ’66 for urging their classmates to join in and help us celebrate in a memorable fashion.
Finally, we need to thank each of the classmates and guests who made special efforts to attend. I cannot tell you where everyone came from but in my personal opinion I would give special note to people like Eddie Paulette, who came all the way from Sweden and Mike Acree and Lehman Williams who came from California. Others might have made similar long distance journeys without me being aware of their efforts. We should also thank people like Bob Pierce, who lives just outside Nashville, and though he did not make a long distance journey, he made a special effort to attend a class reunion for the first time in his life. He has never attended any of the other wonderful reunions many of us remember fondly.
I plan to use the next few issues to elaborate on some of my reunion observations, but for today I will only say thanks to all the people I have mentioned for giving me the opportunity to share this special moment in my life with all of my friends, both new and old.
Memphis, TN - Back home again after a long weekend of celebrating with the first graduating class of Lee High School, the class of 1964. It was late when we got home so this will be a brief issue but I will make up for it over the next couple of weeks.
TV Westerns of the 50's and 60's
"Texas John Slaughter"
by John Drummond
"Texas John Slaughter" was a black-and-white TV series which aired 17 episodes between 1958 and 1961 as part of "The Wonderful World of Disney", starring Tom Tryon in the title role. The character was based on an actual historical figure, Texas Ranger John Horton Slaughter. Tryon memorably wore an enormous white cowboy hat with the front brim turned up. Most episodes were set in Tucson or Tombstone, in the Arizona Territory.
The theme song for the series includes the line: "Texas John Slaughter made 'em do what they oughter, and IF they didn't, they died."
The historical Slaughter was born in Louisiana and spent most of his career as a sheriff, state representative and cattleman in Cochise County, in southern Arizona Territory. He earlier served in the Confederate Army and was a Texas Ranger in San Antonio. Some sources indicate that the real Slaughter spent more time playing poker than he did raising cattle or chasing outlaws.
A fellow lawman described the short-in-stature Slaughter, when in pursuit of cattle rustlers or horse thieves, as "a spider spinning its web for the unwary fly." A writer called him "the meanest Good Guy who ever lived."
John Horton Slaughter died in 1922 at his home in Cochise County, Arizona. The large San Bernadino Ranch, which he created, was declared a National Historic Landmark in 1964.
Prior to portraying Texas John Slaughter, Tom Tryon appeared in "I Married a Monster from Outer Space." Later he was part of an all-star cast in the D-Day epic "The Longest Day" (1962) and played the title role in "The Cardinal" (also 1962) directed by Otto Preminger. The stress of acting under the irascible, Teutonic Preminger made him physically ill during the filming, and would have a major impact on his professional future.
After viewing the film "Rosemary's Baby" (1968) Tom Tryon was inspired to write his own horror novel. He morphed into the novelist Thomas Tryon; his first book, "The Other", was published in 1971 by Alfred Knopf., winning widespread critical acclaim. It was made into a movie in 1972, which Tryon both wrote and produced. He then gave up acting to write fiction full time.
"The Other" remains one of the most influential horror novels ever written; it helped to inspire the young budding author Stephen King. After publishing numerous other successful novels, some of which were also turned into films, Thomas Tryon died in 1991.
From Our Mailbox
Subject: No Mail this week.