Richman, Poorman, Beggarman, Thief,
Doctor, Lawyer, Indian Chief
by Tommy Towery
My step-daughter and her kids just spent their Spring Break week visiting with us and throughout the week we have shared with her some of the Facebook posts made by my LHS classmates. We showed her the sunset photos, the drawings, the travel pictures and even the throw-back-Thursday photos you posted. Last night she made the comment, “You sure had a truly unique class, didn’t you?”
Of course I agreed with her. We were a unique group. As I started explaining to her just what a unique group of people we became, I was amazed as I shared some of the accomplishments we have made in our lives. In the explanation I did, the old counting rhyme I used in the title above came to mind.
I know we had rich men, like those of you who had new cars, or even dependable cars while attending Lee. If that did not qualify you as being rich, then consider the rich kids who were able to go to Florida on Spring Break, while we poor kids stayed home.
We had beggars. I specifically recall Lehman Williams as one of several who went around taking up handouts to help him pay a speeding ticket. There were several who used the same begging technique for the same purpose, thou I don’t recall all the names of the individuals.
And we had thieves. There were a lot of thieves at Lee. Again I cannot name them all individually, but my heart was stolen by many of the cute little (maturing) females who walked the hallowed halls of our alma mater. It was a regular occurrence for many of my little social group.
So, we filled the first part of the list as high school students without any problems. And as we grew some of our crowd became the others listed in the rhyme – the doctors, lawyers, and I was convinced Annette McCraney would qualify as an Indian Chief, since she lived in a teepee at least once in her life.
But we did not stop there. In our midst back then were classmates who became musicians, artists, writers, politicians, educators, realtors, nurses, managers, homemakers and even rocket scientists. Several became warriors while some were destined to be entrepreneurs and skilled salespersons. I will not name names again, but most of you know the ones who fit the descriptions. Some of you may still have a new career ahead, based upon the history of Colonel Sanders and his Kentucky Fried Chicken story.
I will “pick” on a few of my friends and look back at the 1964 Silver Sabre and see it they ended up in the chosen profession they listed back in 1964. Now these are just my 1964 classmates, and the ones I feel I can write about without getting in trouble. I am sure many more reached their intended professional goal (according to the Silver Sabre) in life which I am not aware of. But let’s look at these few:
Tommy Thompson wanted to be an accountant. I suppose being a bank vice president fills that square.
Bob Walker listed aerospace engineering, and got close to that I suppose when he was an Army helicopter pilot in Vietnam.
Bob Ramsey planned to go to West Point. He retired from the Army as a Colonel.
Gary Metzger wrote he wanted to be a “Golf Professional.” Guess what? Gary is a golf professional.
Barbara Wilkerson planned to be an X-Ray technician. I do not know if she was ever certified as one, but she can sure see through anything I try to pull over on her.
Dianne Hughey wanted to go into nursing. She had to wait many years until she raised her family to do so, but as an adult Dianne finally earned her degree and is a nurse today.
Alice Gullion saw her future as a secretary. Ask J.R. Brooks whether she succeeded in that goal. Well, you better ask Alice herself, since J.R. could not keep up with anything had it not been for Alice’s care for years.
Don Cornelius became the doctor he planned to be.
And me, I wanted to be a technical writer, so I guess I was half-right in reaching my goal, only my writing is not technical.
Though I have written many books, I wish I could write one more. It would be about something I remember from those Lee days which always stayed with me. I remember being told that since we were the first classes to graduate from Lee, our lives were going to be monitored to see how successful the first classes would be. I do not know if there was ever an official study done and published or not, but if one were to be conducted today, I am sure we would surely pass the grade.
The book I would love to write would be similar to the monitoring plan. I would love to take each of you who are still alive and kicking and do a story on you, and what you have accomplished in your life which you think warrants documentation. We have all enjoyed reading Rainer’s little biography the last couple of weeks, and I am just as sure each of you have equally interesting stories, which many would never share the way Rainer did. Would it not be of interest to our family 100 years from now to read about the paths we took in our lives, and how we became the “doctors, lawyers, and (you fill in the blank)___________?”
Memphis, TN - March Madness is in full swing, and I am enjoying all the basketball action even though my bracket is already busted. Next week I plan to share a Facebook announcement with you.
From Our Mailbox
Subject: Last Week's Mystery Photo
Tommy I think the guy on the left end is Buford Cagle and the guy on the right end is Harold Ellett. I do not know the setting or who the other two are.
Subject: Last Week's Photo
I know the one on the right is my old buddy, Harold Ellett
Subject: Rainer's Story
Rainer's recollection of his travels was well-written and enjoyable. His time in Chicago reminded me of what the late Lewis Grizzard, southern humorist, thought about The Windy City. Having served as a sports editor for one of the Chicago newspapers, he wrote that "Chicago has only two seasons of the year: Winter, and the 4th of July."
Lewis also had a deep fear of flying; he wondered why, if airplanes are so safe, why is it that when approaching an airport, road signs appear announcing "Terminal?" After being hired by The Atlanta Journal to produce a humor column, he wrote that the only airplane trip he ever actually enjoyed was the Delta flight from Chicago to Atlanta.