This Day in History
by Tommy Towery
This story took 50 years to write. Some of you have read of my exploits which are chronicled in three books I have written focusing on my senior year at Lee. The fist book was the journal I kept back in 1964, which was never published as a stand alone-book. The second book was the 25-year reflection of that journal which I wrote and published in 1989. The third book was the 50-year reflection of the same subject written in 2014. Below is the extract of this date from all three of the books, showing the relationship of things in my life which happened over those 50 years.
From My High School Journal
(Written in 1964)
Monday, May 18, 1964
139th Day - 227 days to follow
Got a 1X for first period Friday. Took a geometry test. Worked on the paper sixth period. Went uptown after M's (Mullins). Bought me a ski jacket with the $5.00 I got yesterday. Then I walked over to the Shelton's. Don was packing to go to Norfolk, Virginia, tomorrow. I helped him.
At 9:30 P.M. we - Don, Linda, and I - went over to Mama Towery's. One of her sisters left me a dollar for a graduation present. After we left there, we came over here. Don and Linda told Grandmother good-bye and then they went home.
I watched a little T.V. then I got tired, from all that moving and packing, and finally went to bed at 12:00 P.M.
Boy, am I pooped! Tired even.
A Million Tomorrows...Memories of the Class of '64
(Written in 1989)
As I look back at the school paper on which I worked that afternoon, I find a few interesting articles that were included in it. I was not allowed to work on the front page of that issue of the paper. It was time for me to "pass the torch" to the new editor. It was all a part of leaving the nest. Let the new birds learn how to fly. Later I found out that the real reason I was not allowed to work on the front page was because there were special sections devoted to the seniors on that page.
My picture was printed on one side of the front page. A picture of Gene, the only other senior associated with the newspaper, was on the other side. The juniors wrote a proclamation for us. It was filled with flowing, flowery words and phrases about leadership and devotion. Of all the sentences, one pleased me the most was: "...a warm and thoughtful associate, and a person endowed as much with the kindness of manner as with the ability to inspire others...his fellow members of the Traveller staff will always and ever respect his name and his record...." They were kind words to challenge my future.
One article in the paper dealt with the future of the girls in the school.
FASHIONS FOR FALL PREVIEWED
Many of this years seniors will be the college freshmen of the fall. The girls are already planning and preparing their wardrobes. These girls are deeply concerned about their appearance. Some feel to be popular in college one must have a complete new wardrobe consisting of all the latest styles.
The wrap-around skirt, the A-Skirt, and straight skirt with a cute blouse are always in good taste. Instead of buying a hundred different outfits, each one a different color, find several different colors in which you look good and have them coordinated.
No matter what the style, a neat, clean looking person with a pleasing personality will always be liked anywhere.
We had often included articles in the school paper. One of my favorites devoted to the girl readers had been printed in the previous issue:
CAN PEASANTS BE PRETTY
The girl of today thinks that she must in some way be noticed to be popular. This is true with almost all of them. The one difference is the way they do it.
Some use makeup an inch thick with heavy made up eyes and either loud lipstick or none at all. Others wear short tight clothes which the girl wears like she's been poured into. This is not very becoming and makes heavy girls heavier.
Then there's the girl who is loud mouthed and constantly popping gum. This isn't just irritating, but she soon becomes a bore because of running out of things to talk about.
You may not be any of these but just check yourself and see. If you want to be noticed just be quiet, wear just enough makeup, don't chew gum in public and wear decent clothes and surely you'll have to be noticed because it is so very unusual.
It was our duty on the newspaper staff to help in the development of young ladies.
My trip to my other grandmother's on that day was a dress rehearsal for my own departure in the weeks ahead. Don only had a little time left to visit before he had to report to his new and last duty station. He left Mama Towery in tears. It was common whenever she was left. She was always afraid she might never see us again. The good-bye Don had with Grandmother was just as bad. Don and Grandmother had a very special relationship also. He was the Ying for my Yang, a Yea for my Nay. The two of us were very different, and my grandmother loved each of us in her own way. Each was loved just as much as the other, and each for different reasons. Don had always been the wild one. He was finally starting to tame down. His love for Grandmother was just as real. It was a hard good-bye for him too.
The brother's good-bye was less emotional. It was a simple, "take care of yourself" type of farewell. Don gave me the old "we'll see you before too long," and they were gone. We had spent much of the day together, talking while they packed. My own packing days were not so distant. The whole packing process was such a pain, and I was starting to realize that the next boxes that had to be packed were not for my brother but for me. Before long, I would load my own stuff into a car, tell the grandmothers good-bye in the same manner, and I too would be gone.
Huntsville would be a part of my past, just as it was becoming a part of Don's, Linda's, and Ty's past on that day.
When Our Hearts Were Young
(Written in 2014)
Though my brother Don had been in the Navy for a while, his family had stayed in Huntsville while he was gone on an overseas deployment. Now he was packing up to finally move with them to his first stateside permanent assignment in Norfolk, Virginia. This move would have a major impact upon our family unit, especially my grandmother. At this time she was in her sixties and the daughter with whom she had lived with for the last 15 years had moved to Memphis the year before. Now the oldest grandson of the same family was about to move off to Virginia. In less than a month, I would follow their lead and be the last occupant of her house to leave. Not only would it mean my grandmother would be living alone, she would also have to move herself because she would no longer qualify for the three bedroom house which we had occupied since 1961. In fact, two months after I left home she was required to move into a one bedroom apartment in the same complex. In a way it was a good move for her because she had a smaller house to keep clean, and it was about two blocks closer to the bus stop she had to walk to each day to catch the bus to go to work.
For me, with Don moving, it would be the last time in our lives we would ever live in the same town again. Though we were separated by three years in age, my big brother was a big influence on my life in many ways. One of the most obvious ways to me was in the type of music I learned to enjoy. Thanks to him, I got into the classic rock and roll sounds three years ahead of my classmates who did not have older siblings. For that I have always been eternally grateful. Once Don completed his service commitment in the Navy, he moved back to Huntsville and for the rest of his live moved around the state several times. I never got to visit him when he lived in Norfolk, and in fact have only been to that city one time in my life. Two years ago my wife and I took a round-about Space-Available flight from Memphis to California and the first stop was in Norfolk. We spent the night there but never left the base. I do not even know where my brother lived when he was stationed there.
Memphis, TN - Didn't have access to the Lee Lunch Bunch photos I promised to publish this week. It may be a couple of weeks before I can get them in. No mail this week either. I hope all of you are doing well and look forward to a great summer.
Click on the image above to see the information about the
upcoming joint '64-'65-'66 2015 Reunion.
The Day I Turned 16
by George Lehman Williams
I turned 16 on August 11, 1961 and had been looking forward to turning 16 because I could get my driver’s license. I had no plans for my birthday.
At the time I was living at 1622 McCullough Ave, along with my mom, dad, bother and my dog Skipper. My best friends were Jerry Brewer, Gary Kinkle, and Dwight Jones and my favorite fun activity was baseball.
I loved to watch Rawhide on our RCA television and my favorite type of music to listen to was Rock-N-Roll.
Up until that day, my best vacation ever had been to the Rocky Mountains. Our family car was a 1958 Black Chevy with a 348ci V8, but my primary mode of transportation was a 1960 Harley Davidson Super 10/165cc.
My favorite food was Mullins Hamburgers, and if I could eat anywhere I wanted to eat I would go to Mullins. My favorite beverage was beer.
My favorite type of movies was war movies and if I wanted to look good I would wear my jeans and Converse All-Stars, and I would put on English Leather to smell good.
My favorite subject in school was math, and I thought I wanted to be an accountant when I graduated from high school.
A memorable décor item in my room was a bed.
I had a crush on Sandy Moneymaker. My first kiss was at a party at Gale Thompson’s house – with Gale. I was maybe 10 or 11, but I don’t remember exactly.
I could describe my parents as not having a clue, and I considered myself lucky.
My favorite group/organization to which I belonged was The 4 Aces.
From Our Mailbox