Lee's Place in My Life
by Tommy Towery
For some unknown reason, over the last week I have reflected upon her email and spend a lot of time analyzing my own opinions to try to understand not why she felt the way she did, but why I felt the way I did about my own high school days and especially my deep feelings for Lee High School.
Being the writer, I often find I can put things in words much easier than I can bounce the same thoughts around in my head; age might have something to do with this feeling as well. With that goal in mind, I have decided to share with all of you some of my thoughts, for all they are worth. Not only will it give me the chance to analyze the reasons, it will also give me an opportunity to dedicate at least one issue of Lee’s Traveller with such a story.
I will preface the launch of such an endeavor with an assumption. It is my initial conviction you, the loyal readers of this weekly sharing of information, have a reasonable interest in reading about the earlier years of our lives and might find some enjoyment or personal reflection in the words I put to print. Another basic feeling is an equally justifiable confidence that even if you do not, I will never be informed by many of you about such a disinterested opinion. Based upon previous experiences, I rarely hear from many of you when you like something you read, so I would expect the same reaction to things you do not have an interest in. Perhaps you will prove me wrong and I will find the best way to get feedback is to give you the opportunity to give me negative feedback. No, I don’t really believe so, but it gives me a good “out” should the statement prove true. This actually is one of the few times I ever have just decided to enjoy writing for the fun of it and hope you enjoy reading my story.
So, with such a preface stated, I shall now endeavor to enlighten you, or bore you, with some personal insights into my deep feelings about Lee and the days I spent there.
The foremost thought which first came to mind is the basic knowledge that I am probably one of a small handful of people who attended Lee because I wanted to, and not because I had to. You see, the summer before I began the ninth grade my family made the second move of the summer. I finished the eighth grade at Huntsville Jr. High and shortly thereafter we moved over to Hart Drive in West Huntsville, destined eventually to attend Butler High School. The move turned out to be a short stay and before the summer was over we moved to McCullough Avenue. It is my understanding McCullough was one of the dividing lines between the Huntsville Jr. High and Lee Jr. High school districts. Since I had attended Huntsville Jr. High for the seventh and eighth grade, I had the option to find my junior high education there. It was my choice, if I remember correctly. I could pick either. This thought is based upon the fact my brother Don went to Huntsville High. I realize he was a few grades higher than me and Lee Jr. High was still just a junior high, but I still believe I could have opted out of going to Lee and finished the ninth grade at Huntsville Jr. High.
I chose to go to Lee. I, myself, made the choice; not my parents nor any school board committee. I chose Lee because I knew at Lee I would be a nobody – an unknown. You see, I was a somebody at Huntsville Jr. High. Everyone knew me and I had a reputation to live up to. At Lee I was known by only a few, though important people in my life. I was tired of being a somebody and wanted to get away from the attention I received. You see, my brother Don was three years older than me and I had followed him in every school I attended. He was also an athlete and played and starred in every sport in every school in which I followed in his footsteps. I was not an athlete, and I could not live up to the reputation and expectations I felt everyone had for me. I was not the Eli to the Peyton in my family. I was only known as “Don Towery’s little brother” and I was tired of feeling that was the only thing I had to offer civilization. I wanted to go to Lee, where no one knew me.
So, when the time to start to school came and Lee Jr. High became one of my options, I gladly accepted the role of becoming a nobody. It was almost a witness protection program for me. I saw the opportunity for a new life, in a new environment where anything I was destined to become would have to be done on my own and not be based upon my relationship to the star quarterback of the football team.
When the bell rang on the first day of class of my ninth grade in school, I stepped into an unknown setting in which my destiny would be determined by my own actions. I knew a few classmates from our days at East Clinton Elementary School, but many of them I had not seen since the sixth grade. I knew none of the teachers, and to my great relief, none of them knew me either. I did not have to be compared with my older brother and their expectations of my abilities based upon their previous association with him.
I was happy to give up my fame, and assume the role of a nobody in a place I elected to be, rather than a somebody in a place in which I did not . I was a stranger in a strange land, and I was happy to be so.
It is a most basic fact. I attended Lee because I wanted to attend Lee.
(To be continued.)
Memphis, TN - This issue was delayed a bit because I spent the day watching football games and enjoyed all I saw. Since I have friends and classmates who attended many rival schools I shall not note which teams I rooted for, except for my own Memphis Tigers, Maryland Terps, and TCU Horned Frogs. My Tigers won their first conference title since 1972 and are bowl bound to a bowl which will be announce on December 7th.
My thoughts were will many you of, on both sides of the fields tonight. there were some good games hard fought.
TV Shows of the Fifties and Sixties
"Men of Annapolis"
Men of Annapolis is a 41-episode half-hour syndicated drama television series in anthology format which aired from 1957–1958 and was hosted by the voice of Art Gilmore. Darryl Hickman appeared four times on the program as Dusty Rhodes, a fictitious midshipman at the United States Naval Academy in Annapolis, Maryland.
This was a companion series to the Ziv Military Anthology series about another branch of service. Do you remember which one?
From Our Mailbox
No mail this week.