This Day In Time
by Tommy Towery
From My High School Journal
(Written in 1964)
May 25, 1964
146th Day - 220 Days to Follow
The senior class practiced for class day this morning. I took my geometry exam forth period. Gave a farewell speech in journalism class. After M's I went over to Mama Towery's to pick up a graduation present - a pair of pajamas. I also got a present of $1 while I was there. Then home.
At 7:00 P.M. Janice picked me up then we went and got Michelle and went out to the shopping center. I got me a new guitar string but that was all. We stopped at Hardee's on the way home and ate.
I got in at 9:45 P.M. Studied economics and watched A Foreign Affair. Grandmother brought me a present from one of the girls she works with. It was $2.
C'est 12:30 A.M. Time pour bed.
A Million Tomorrows...Memories of the Class of '64
(Written in 1989)
Farewell. It was time for my speech to the journalism class. A lot of seniors never had to give a speech like that. I had never been afraid to speak to groups before. In fact, I was usually quite comfortable in front of groups. I was especially comfortable in front of that particular group. These were my friends. I had shared my life with each of them in one way or another. I had shared many personal and private moments with many. Deep secrets formed a bond between me and some of them. Only one other person in the crowd, besides the sponsor, had been with the newspaper as long as I had. We had helped start it. We had brought it up from scratch. We steered it from a mimeographed four-sheet paper with crude hand drawing and sloppy headlines to the modern paper now being published at the print shop. Halftone pictures and bold headlines had replaced the hand-printed headlines and line drawings.
There was something different about standing in front of the group to give a farewell speech. The words didn't come so easy for some reason. The speech wasn't a pep talk, a "Let's get those articles in by Friday" plea. It was goodbye. I had written my speech to the group the night before, and it was a personal goodbye to a personal group. For the rest of the school, I wrote a formal farewell to be printed in the last issue of "my" paper. It read:
A SENIOR BIDS FAREWELL
As we leave the doors of Lee for the last time, it is only natural that we look back into the twelve years that have built up to graduation. It is also only natural that we remember all the good times and good friends we've had. The school events, ball games, dances, parties, assemblies, and such, all come back to our memories. We feel depressed at having to meet the big, wide world now. This is the one feeling a senior shouldn't have.
Graduation is the end of our carefree days. It is the turning point in many of our lives. Some have to decide between careers or college, others between marriage and careers.
Seniors, we have our whole lives ahead of us, our whole lives! Until this time, we've usually only done what our parents or friends wanted us to do. Now we have to plan our own lives. We have to trust our own judgment. Let's make sure we do the right thing. Let's all try to make the world better by something we do. Set your own goals and then reach them.
I Corinthians, Chapter 13, verses 11 and 12 could easily apply to seniors:
"When I was a child, I spoke as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but when I became a man, I put away childish things. For now we see through a glass darkly, but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as I am known."
Yes, seniors, it is time to put away our childish things. It is time to go into the world and do our part. But we know, no matter what, we will always remember our high school days. It is all right to remember them, but also remember that we can't live in the past. Look to the future. That's where our lives lie.
It's easy to be brave in printed words. When you stand in front of a group of friends, knowing that you are about to tell them all good-bye, perhaps for the last time, the words don't come out so eloquent. The voice doesn't hold up as well as the pen does. Printed good-byes came easy compared to spoken ones. I wasn't quite as brave or as optimistic as in my editorial. I really didn't want to look to the future. I wanted to remember the past. I really wanted to stop the clock, and not worry about the past or the future.
They were fine words. I could not live by them. I continued to live in the past for quite a while. Today I live in the past again. My future lies in my past. Without a past, there is no future. I didn't realize that at the time. I see it now.
When Our Hearts Were Young -
Today 50 Years Ago
(Written in 2014)
The thought of giving a speech to the journalism class only concerned me because of the emotional challenge of the event and not the physical process of facing the crowd. I never had problems speaking in front of people and, in fact, I actually enjoyed doing so. My first public speaking engagement before a large crowd was at the Huntsville Kiwanis Club when I spoke on the trip to the National Jamboree which they sponsored for me. Later I got my public speaking merit badge in the Scouts and again found I did not have the least bit of stage fright doing so. I went on to earn a minor in college in speech. I even had my own radio show on the college radio station during my studies there.
In the Air Force I did a stint in the Intelligence field where I was required to brief the alert crews on the current events of the intelligence community throughout the world. As an active crewmember of a B-52 crew I had to brief my mission requirements to the wing staff each quarter. Later in my military career I once again worked in the intelligence field and again briefed aircrews on current events. I also briefed congressmen and military attaches from many of our foreign allies on the mission of our reconnaissance aircraft.
It was no problem taking the same skills into the classroom when I became an adjunct faculty member teaching classes on computer systems and software. When I worked for the Small Business Administration I traveled across the state teaching seminars on using small computers in business applications. I was the lead coordinator for producing seminars during the Y2K program to inform and prepare small businesses on the potential software disasters of the two digit year used in computer programs by some software developers.
My most recent public speaking activity was two weeks ago when I was invited to speak to a group of seniors in a continuing education course at the University of Alabama, Huntsville. My topic was growing up in Huntsville and I built a presentation based upon my book, “The Baby Boomer’s Guide to Growing Up in the Rocket City.”
The act of speaking was no problem on this day 50 years ago, but the emotions associated with the topic of the speech was troubling, knowing I was about to leave a significant group of my friends behind in a few short
Escondido, CA - I can write where I am this week because I have someone house sitting and I do not have to worry about letting the world know I was not at home. By the time you read this I may be back at home. This explains why the content of the Traveller is the way it has been for the last couple of weeks. All the issues had to be do ahead of time to insure I could meet my publication deadline. In the last four weeks I have been from Aruba to Maine and San Francisco to San Diego by ship, plane, and automobile. This week we have been babysitting the three-year-old California twins, and I have been driving my son-in-law's $70,000 Tesla automobile. I had to check to insure my automobile insurance policy would cover me should I have an accident in his car while he is away at a convention.
Next week things should get back to normal for just a short period then I am off again to Dayton, Ohio to attend an Air Force reunion.
From Our Mailbox
Subject: Mullins Comeback
Mullins Restaurant may have closed in February, but it won't stay that way for long.
Huntsville natives Mark and Cindy Schrimsher are taking over the iconic restaurant on Andrew Jackson Way near downtown Huntsville. The couple, who have been married nearly 14 years, plan to reopen the Five Points eatery in June.
For Mark, a pipe fitter at Huntsville Utilities, his roots at Mullins run deep. With help from his brother and head chef Mike, Mark said he wants to transform the restaurant into what it used to be, a place locals can call home.
For starters, they plan to keep the Mullins name because it's synonymous with Huntsville, he said.
Subject: Reunion Announcement
I noticed that the reunion theme has gone from "Still Crazy After All These Years" to "Keep Calm". (sigh - guess we've come full circle ??)