Sept 24, 1946 - Jan 17, 2015
Michael Clayborn Gray, 68, of Huntsville died Saturday at Crestwood Medical Center Arrangements have been entrusted to Spry Funeral Home of Huntsville. A service was administered by Dr. Hughie Reynolds and Rev. Chris Martin officiating. Interment followed at Maple Hill Cemetery. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to Latham UMC, 109 Weatherly Road, Huntsville, AL 35802.
A video tribute to Mike can be viewed at the following link.
Memphis, TN - I took my laptop on vacation with me so I could publish this week's issue with no problems, but that didn't happen. It seems my legal copy of Word 2010 did not register correctly with Microsoft when I upgraded my Word 2003. With the failure to register, it would not let me save any documents I created with the unregistered copy.
Since all my registration information was at home, I found myself in a jam. I found the way out by remembering the free open source program that has almost all the same features as Microsoft Office, a free download called Open Office. If any of you are in need of a very good, safe, and free alternative to the expensive Microsoft Office Suite, I highly recommend you download Open Office and give it a try.
You can download your own copy at Open Office
Gone But Not Forgotten
by Tommy Towery
One feature which keeps popping up on Facebook is when someone posts a question about whether or not someone else remembers a certain place from their past. A recent posting got me to thinking about just how many places which were major factors in my life no longer exist, having succumbed to the wrecking ball. I could spend many hours elaborating on the places which come to my mind, but I elected to challenge myself to come up with a list of just the top 10 places which meant the most to me in my maturity from a child to a high school graduate and are no longer around.
It is not easy to list them in order, because there are so many reasons some of the places are important in different ways from some of the others. It is also not easy to list only 10, and I will not promise I will not continue this series of memories with an expanded list sometime in the future.
It is very sad in a way to accept the physical absence of these structures of my past life. There is no way to calculate how many hours were spent as a patron of these establishments. It is more sad to know I can never take anyone on a tour of my hometown and show them the historic significance of them in my life. I can picture it now, driving around town and with each stop saying “This is where (fill in the blank) used to be. I used to love coming here.”
I will make only a short statement about each facility at this time, and later when I run out of things to write about some weeks, I might revisit each one with a more in-depth reflection. I have to remember that not all of you have read either my “A Million Tomorrows…Memories of the Class of ‘64” or “When Our Hearts Were Young – 50 Years Ago Today,” in which I gave more information on the historical significance of many places on my list.
So, here goes...
1. Carter’s Skateland - Carter's holds the number one spot in my heart because it was where I first began interacting with members of the opposite sex. Had it not been for the social protocols of learning to ask girls to skate and physically touching them while doing so, I do not know where I would have learned these social skills.
2. Lee High School (the one of Forrest Circle) - This building had many influences besides the obvious one of education. I became my own person here, made my own friends, participated in activities which would have major impacts in decisions I made later in my life - such as publishing this web newspaper.
3. Bradley’s Cafeteria - It was not the food which made this place important to me; it was the Friday and Saturday night dances - guaranteed to provide me with alternating bouts of falling in love and getting my heart broken, all to the tune of Jerry Brewer's drums.
4. The Lyric Theatre - One of the first places I was allowed to exercise a personal freedom, void of supervision by parents and filled with days of screaming kids, popcorn, cheap candy, and six-shooters and vicious monsters.
5. Jerry’s Drive-In - Though I rarely entered the physical structure, I spent many hours sitting in one of their drive-in parking spots watching my many friends drive past me in countless loops of "Cruising the Parkway."
6. Shoney’s Drive-In - The Northern turn spot for the loop connecting #5 above with exactly the same activities as the fore mentioned.
7. Woody’s Drive-In - Though Carter's and Bradley's gave me the opportunity to get to know girls, Woody's gave me a place to expand my interaction to levels of memorable moments.
8. Zesto’s - This is one place I miss for gastronaumic reasons only. I expanded no social skills eating their Dip Dogs, but cannot say the same about my waistline.
9. Mullin’s Cafe (on Stephens) - The old Mullin's Cafe on Stephens Ave. was home to good food, and the new place tries to continue that tradition as best as it can. For me, it was not the food they served, but the social interaction of going there after school with friends and with dates when possible. It is also where I interacted with Bob Walker, my best friend from high school.
10. The Grand News Stand - This place took me from candy bars to comic books to model airplanes and Playboy magazines (though I never bought a Playboy there in my life and my exposure to the airbrushed naked ladies came from pretending to read a comic book and looking over the shoulders of adult readers in the same fashion as one cheats on a history exam by glancing at the answers of the person in the desk beside you.)
Though I must accept the absence of these physical structures from my life and my past, I find solitude in knowing they all still live in my memories. They are the places where in my fodest memories I meet with my friends who shared them with me – the friends who have also physically left mt life, but still live on in the love I had for them.
If you would like to send my your list of the top 10 places which no longer physically exist, please do so. I will ask for more comments at a future time. Thanks.
From Our Mailbox
Subject: Rainer's Article
Pat King Fanning
Thanks, Tommy --- loved this week's Traveller. Can't wait to read Rainer's continuation!
Makes me proud to be a graduate of Lee High School... as each year passes!