The Day I Turned 16
Dianne Hughey McClure
I was 16 on August 5th. I wanted to be 16 so I could drive, go on real dates, and get a job. I had a party on Monte Sano Mountain and I remember it was at night, but I think the park closes at sundown these days.
I had different groups of friends at Lee; some friends were in all categories and some of them were in their own special category. My best friends were Carolyn McCutcheon and Tommy Towery. My good friends were Bob Walker, Ginger Cagle, Elaine Kemp, and Pat Mullins. Today Pat has progress to the best friends category, since we have grown closer as the years have passed. Then I had my hall friends that I visited with between classes, including Alice Gullion, Marilyn Thighpen, and Billy Moss. I consider all of these people to be my friends and my years at Lee would have not been the same without them. Thank you all.
I wanted to be a nurse and to get married and have a family. I feel very blessed that I was able to accomplish both of those goals.My first car was a 1956 orange and white Mercury with chrome headlights, which I bought from Mr. Cagle - Ginger's dad. One of my favorite places to eat was the Bon Aire. I lived on Grove Ave not far from there and Mr. Hicks or Mr. Rob as I called him. He was my dad's cousin and he lived across the street from us.
Lee High School has remained a part of my life. I have had three daughter and a niece graduate from Lee and I have a granddaughter that is a sophomore in the Lee Magnet program this year.
Tommy thank you for keeping the memories alive. Our class has been very fortunate to have someone that cared enough to try and keep our class in touch and up to date. As the title of the song says "Thanks For The Memories."
Both Dianne Hughey’s story (above) about the different categories of friends, and John Drummond’s story a couple of weeks ago concerning friends with whom he has lost touch, intrigued and inspired me to add my own reflections on their topics.
Dianne was spot on about having different categories of friends. I think we all did the same in our own ways. Looking back, I think it is an interesting reflection upon the era in which we lived and the school which we attended that allowed such diversity. I never felt their was a financial class distinction between most of us. If there was I was definitely at the bottom of the class. I have often reflected upon the many different people which I remember being my friends, and the eclectic groups to which they belonged. In today’s world I wonder if such things are still possible, based upon the social atmosphere which exists.
I never considered myself popular at Lee. I always felt like I was on the low end of the social ladder. Of course I had high standards to meet, considering how popular my brother Don was at his school. I was not an athlete, but many of my friends were. Let's face it, being the editor of the school paper is not like being the captain of the football team. But, even though the most athletic thing I did during the four years I spent at Lee was take PE during my sophomore year, I was not treated as an outcast by the members of the football or basketball teams. I suppose I was more a scholar than an athlete, but I often ran around with Bob Ramsey and Don Cornelius among others, and they were both top rate members of Lee’s teams as well as academic scholars. I became friends with both of them in the Boy Scout troop which we all belonged. Other friends in that group were Jim Ramsey, Brian Towery, Johnny Carter, Bobby Joyce, Bobby Cochran, and Dillard and Bill Broadway. There were more, but right now the names and faces elude me.
Johnny Carter and Mack Yates were also friends from Carter’s Skateland, along with Kenneth Burkett, Sherry Adcock, Barbara Seely, Pam Grooms, Linda Pell, and Carol Jean Williams. Others in the Carter's group are more associated with a different set of friends so I will mention them later. The Carter’s crowd will forever hold a place dear to my heart, because that was the place where I first learned to have and be a friend all on my own. It was also the site of my growth to puberty and where I first started paying attention to the difference between boys and girls – both physically and mentally. It was the site of triumphs and failures, loves and heartbreaks, and aches and pains, literally.
The Lee’s Traveller newspaper staff was one of my first Lee High social groups. Though they were all special and I can name them all by heart, I will limit my list to a few, extra-special ones. Sarajane Steigerwald, Carol Jean, Escoe, Patsy, Patty, Janice, Carol Stevens, Mickey Sue, Darryl Glascow, Gene Bryson and Bob Walker were my closest ties. The times I spent with them putting together a semi-regular newspaper made probably the longest lasting influence on me becoming the man I am today.
My biggest social group, the ones with which I spent most of my evenings and weekends outside of the school environment also included Bob Walker. Bob and I became the best of friends and had a lasting friendship up until the day he died. He, his cousin Larry Dale Bryant, David France, and Lewis Brewer and I put many miles on our cars (whichever one was running and had gas) between Shoney’s and Jerry’s cruising the Parkway strip. The females of this social scene were divided into two groups which are hard to explain the difference between. One group consisted of Dianne Hughey, still a best friend today, Carolyn McCutcheon, and Ginger Cagle – who was my first steady girlfriend.
Bob, David, Lewis and I also had another group of females with whom we often ran around. This group included Joy Wells, Frankie Kennedy, and Linda and Cathy Shafer. There were a few real dates ever-so-often between members of the group, but most often it was the cruising the strip endeavor which served as our bond.
I could not talk about my friends at Lee without including a few other special people in my life back then. Tommy Thompson was one of those people. I can never figure out what brought him into my life exactly, but he was a big factor in my social life back then and a true friend. Another person who many would wonder why he and I ever got together socially was Buddy Miller. Buddy was in an entirely different social group most of the time I knew him, as was I, but on many occasions we found ourselves sharing many social activities. This was kind of one of those “movie type” friendships, meaning we were friends in private, but in public were rarely seen together.
I know I could write a book on those days (and I have at least twice) and I know I am leaving out a few names which should be included, and I will probably follow up with them later on. One such friend was Gary Helms. Thanks to the reunions and a few other social encounters, I have reunited with many of those important people in the last few years. I have lost way too many of them, but several are thought of almost daily. I am stopping on this area of reflecting on my various groups of friend to center on a few special ones I would like to once again see.
In my ninth grade at Lee, I met a very interesting fellow named Vance “Rusty” George. Since then I have met another Vance George, but he is not my friend from the ninth grade. Rusty was nicknamed by Mrs. Parks as “Rusty Bucket” for some reason, and the “Rusty” part stuck. He was another one who it is impossible to explain why or how our friendship developed, but he was very interesting and I hate we lost touch.
Linda Shafer is another one I have always wanted to see again. We had one real date, but as noted above, ran around with each other in groups often. Each time I attend a reunion I hope she will show up, but she never has. The same goes for Joy Wells.
The last one I have always wanted to see show up at one of our reunions is Judith Keel. Judith, “Judi”, and I were drawn together by mutual friendships and ended up double-dating to the senior prom – her with a different boy and me with her friend, Saranette. Still, she was a good friend and I hate we lost touch with each other.
A last note on missing friends concerns Annette McCraney. Annette and I were not great friends during our days at Lee, but once we started having reunions our friendship grew. She was always a willing and enthusiastic participant in all the reunion activities and in the various activities of my Lee’s Traveller endeavor, but she failed to show at the 50 year reunion and I fear something has happened to her. Despite my searches and pleas, I have yet to determine her fate.
My friendship story centers on my friends from Lee High School only. I had many more in my life during other periods of my childhood, but not mentioned here since this audience is primarily Lee classmates. One such major group is the group of girls with whom I danced at all the Bradley’s Cafeteria dances. Another group would be the many friends I had at Central Presbyterian Church. I had several East Clinton Elementary School friends who were my classmates at Lee, including Alice Gullion and Connie Mullins and Jerry Schultz as I recall.
Looking back I now realize how blessed I was to have friends who were athletes, cheerleaders, writers, skaters, hall-walkers, boy-girl kissing party partners, Scouts, and even some juvenile delinquents. My life was involved in a plethora of personalities and I enjoyed them all in the ways our lives were intertwined. I am also proud to say that today I have many more friends who were only acquaintances when we walked the hallowed halls of Lee High School and stood under the painting on the gym wall of General Robert E. Lee, sitting astride Traveller and carrying the Confederate flag. Though the political correctness of that symbol of our childhood has recently come under fire, there is no way I could ever let such a thing happen to the memory of those I called and still call my friends.
Waukee, IA - Visiting the grandkids in Iowa again, but headed home soon. I need to get my hand checked out before the reunion. Somehow I have developed a trigger finger in the small finger of my right hand and I hope to see what they can do about it. I hope it does not prevent me from typing, so that is why I need to get it checked out.
I made my reservations for the reunion using Eventbrite and it was a simple process. Please get your reservation finished up soon if you have not done so.
43rd Annual Reunion
Jackson Way Baptist Church
10:00 AM - Registration and Visitation
11:00 AM - Business Meeting
12:00 PM - Luncheon. Please bring a 6-8 serving covered dish
Entertainment will be provided by "The Fahrenheits".
Hosted by the Association Committee
From Our Mailbox
Subject: Oakwood House
Happened across your site and have wondered if any of you have information on my home? Its now 1606 Oakwood Ave NE; not sure if it was something else at one time. I have been remodeling, to a point, and have made a few changes. Would love to know if anyone has any history or old photos of this house. Its intriguing to me. Thanks in advance for your time.
Email Address email@example.com