View Issues‎ > ‎2015 Issues‎ > ‎1511 November 2015‎ > ‎

151102 November 2, 2015


Jane Gale Thompson
LHS '64
 July 21, 1946 – Oct. 26, 2015

        Jane Gale Thompson, age 69 of Huntsville died on Monday October 26, 2015. Ms. Thompson was a very active, vivacious, independent person. Family was very important to her as she was a very sociable person, organizing parties and holiday family get togethers. She loved antiques and had a strong feeling for Lee High School, where she was a majorette. Ms. Thompson loved sports, especially Auburn. She was a great Auburn fan and was a member of the Madison Co. Auburn Fan Club. Ms. Thompson was preceded in death by her parents, Aubrey and Mildred Thompson. Ms. Thompson is survived by her twin brother, Dale Thompson and his wife Delores; her sister, Marcella Hargrove and husband Mart; her significant other, Jon De Armond; and several nieces and nephews. Funeral services were on Saturday October 31, 2015 in the chapel of Spry Funeral Home of Huntsville with burial following in Maple Hill Cemetery. 

        Memphis, TN - It was sad to hear of the loss of Gale Thompson this week. My thoughts and prayers go out to Dale and the rest of her family. Gale has always been a strong supporter of the basic-core vaules of being a Lee General, and has always supported her class and classmates. It wasn't a reunion if Gale wasn't there, and she will be missed, but remain in our fondest memories.

        Thanks to all of you who have responded to my virtual jukebox quest. Remember I have given each of you a virtual quarter to pick out three songs to share with your classmates from the days before you graduated. A few "older" songs have found their way into the mix, but lets try to keep the selections to songs you would have played on your favorite jukebox before you finished high school. The songs will be played in the order they are selected, so if you have already sent in your request, be patient, and eventually your song will come up.

        I am still accepting "football" game stories, and they don't have to be from just football players. Any memory you have of attending a high school football game is welcome.

        The following email address have bounced back as undelivered several times and have been removed from my notice list group:

Growing up on Beirne Ave. Niles and his favorite two early cheerleaders,  his mom and sister Sherron

Goldsmith-Schiffman Field Memories
by Niles Prestage
LHS '65

       I enjoyed John Wayne Turrentine's account of his memories  of Goldsmith-Schiffman Field and our first game of a fledgling LHS football team played there, which was also the first game of our new head coach, Bill Godsey. As teammates John and I were on that field many more times during our playing days at LHS. On that same field we experienced our first big time win, defeating heavily favored Decatur the first game of the '63-'64 season, and that same year losing to Sheffield 7-6 as I, as the placekicker, had my extra point attempt blocked.

        As a kid growing up in 5-Points like many of you, my memories of Goldsmith-Schiffman go back many years prior to ever playing there for LHS. This is especially meaningful since I was born and raised only one block away on "lower" Beirne Ave. In the mid-50s and well before, it was the epicenter of the football world in Huntsville, where the fierce rivalries were fought between Huntsville and Butler and their opponents during football season. In those days, the stands and stadium were packed to capacity for most every game. This afforded me early entrepreneurial opportunities. All parking on streets near Goldsmith-Schiffman were always taken early, especially the big games. Our family owned half of the 600 block of Beirne Ave., which on game nights became 15-20 parking spots for game goers, quite a bargain at 50 cents per car only a block from the stadium! All this and I still made it to the game free at halftime! Early Saturday morning after the big game was the time that underneath the stadium bleachers could be searched for loose change that had fallen from the pockets of cheering fans the night before. "Finders keepers" was the rule in those days!

        Most of my time spent at Goldsmith-Schiffman, literally hundreds of hours, was spent there alone. Summer vacations were a full three months back then and I would go there by myself with my football and tee and kicked my football off the tee for hours at a time - at first to kill time and later for the more serious business of honing skills for actual games. Getting in over the imposing wall was never a problem, it was a skill learned by neighborhood kids early on as a "rite of passage". In my high school years I was able to recruit mainly younger kids to "shag" balls for me. I have people from time to time remind me that they did so, most recently Greg Patterson, who did pretty well himself. 

        As a Junior at LHS I began to receive letters from several SEC schools about the possibility of extending my playing years at the college level, but the day I received a letter from Coach Paul Bear Bryant himself about coming to Alabama I dismissed all other possibilities and that became my goal. Our team record at LHS our senior year was not one that gets a prospect many SEC offers, but my dream to play at Alabama never wavered. In the fall of '65 I "walked on" at Alabama and for the next three years watched many great games from the bench without distinction as a backup placekicker for the Crimson Tide. To be honest, it was a pretty good seat!

        My only career distinction is that I was the first LHS athlete to play in an SEC varsity contest in any sport, although many have done so since with far greater distinction!

        In the years since, Goldsmith-Schiffman Field has been a place where I have watched quite a few other contests, but every time I have been back it brings back such great memories of those hours spent there so long ago. I still detour off Andrew Jackson Way from time to time just to make sure it's still there!


The Virtual Jukebox
Tommy Towery
LHS '64

        It probably would not surprise some of you to learn I once owned my very own jukebox. I bought it out of an old shop in Marshall, Texas when I was stationed over in Fort Worth with the Air Force. The old man I bought it from told me he got it out of an old "juke joint" near a river there, which became obvious when I opened the back and saw the water damage received from at least once being in a flooded building. It had a few "kinks" but all-in-all was in pretty good shape and well worth the $100 I spent on it when I bought it. It traveled from Texas to Nebraska to Memphis during my Air Force days and I finally ended up giving it to my daughter Tiffany when she got a place of her own.

        I mention this to explain one thing I learned while maintaining my jukebox, and that was the secret of how it knew which of the 100 records to play when someone picked out a song. There was a rotary dial-type mechanism inside and when someone dropped in a coin and selected a record, a pin extended from a hole in the dial, similar to the way some lamp-timers work. When the dial spun, it would stop where a pin was extended, play the song associated with that pin, push it back in, and continue rotating until it found another pin sticking out. If it did not find one, it would shut down until someone put another coin in and then start the procedure all over again. I didn't know before then you could not play the same record over and over without waiting for it to end each time. If you were to put in a quarter and try to play the same song three times, it would only play it once, since there was only one pin for the song. So, if you happened to pick out a tune and the next person came up and tried to play the same song, it would play yours but not play it twice.

        Many of you have dropped your virtual quarter inside our Traveller virtual jukebox, and the songs will be played in the order they were selected. Although there are many "visualizations" of the songs on Youtube, I am trying to stick to the old fashioned jukebox and just show you the record label when possible, That was all we saw back in high school, since the video jukebox was far in the future. Only if I cannot find a basic version or have a compelling reason to show a video clip will your coin produce a visual example..

        This week, you get selections from two classmates, since each person only selected one song. Perhaps they were thinking of the era when it did take a quarter to hear one song. In our younger days it was three songs for a quarter or 10 cents each.

        Chip Smoak, LHS '66, selected one of his favorites - a novelty tune from 1958, "Purple People Eater" by Sheb Wooley before his days on Rawhide.  

        Song Facts:  "The Purple People Eater" is a novelty song written and performed by Sheb Wooley, which reached #1 in the Billboard pop charts in 1958 from June 9 to July 14. The voice of the purple people eater is a sped-up recording, giving it a voice similar to, but not quite as high-pitched or as fast, as Ross Bagdasarian's "Witch Doctor", another hit from earlier in 1958; and "The Chipmunk Song" which was released late in 1958.

The Purple People Eater

Trivia Question:    What was Sheb Wooley's character named on Rawhide? The answer is below following the email section..

        Darla Gentry Steinberg, LHS '66, writes: "Tommy, I think each of us must have special memories attached to songs. One special memory I have is connected to "House of the Rising Sun" by The Animals. Lynn Bozeman nor I can sing a lick; however, we convinced friends we had been selected to be on a local TV telethon and we were singing this song. Bob Crump and Linda Collinsworth both stayed up all night watching for us. Lynn and I had a good laugh and we had a couple of grumpy friends from that."

        Song Facts: "The House of the Rising Sun" is a traditional folk song, sometimes called "Rising Sun Blues". It tells of a life gone wrong in New Orleans; many versions also urge a sibling to avoid the same fate. The most successful commercial version, recorded in 1964 by the English rock group The Animals, was a number one hit in the United Kingdom, the United States, Canada and Australia.  The song has been described as the "first folk-rock hit"  After reaching the top of the UK pop singles chart in July 1964, it topped the U.S. pop singles chart two months later on 5 September 1964 where it stayed for three weeks and became the first British Invasion number one unconnected with The Beatles.

The House of the Rising Sun

Trivia Question: Who was the lead singer for the Animals on this track? The answer is below following the email section.



From Our Mailbox 


Subject:        Traveller

Jennie Ferguson

LHS '65

        Hi, my name is Jennie Ferguson, LHS year of '65. I have read some of the interesting recounts of many of you from your early years at Lee. We certainly all had different, unique experiences during our formative years there. I have wanted to share some of my own. But, the problem arises that I never kept a journal, and all I wanted was to graduate and move on with my life. My memory fails me as I try to descend into the past when I was at Lee for four years. 


        I know I made a few friends, but I feel as though I really missed out because I actually did not live in the Lee High School District. I was supposed to have attended Buckhorn. My father dropped me off in the mornings and my mother picked me up in afternoons. There was a time where my parents made me take ballroom dancing at the community center, and my father would pick me up there. Needless to say, I did not enjoy it. (smile) I was in the Tri Hi Y and met some other friends from Butler and Huntsville High.


        I came from a very strict family and I stayed on restriction half my life in high school for various reasons such as not say 'yes sir' etc. I had to sew my own clothes, and my parents had to approve whomever I wanted to befriend. Over the years I attended around 8 schools, Lee being the final one. I was born in Mississippi and we made our way to New Jersey and on to Huntsville, where I attended Huntsville Jr High and then Riverton before LHS.


        I left Huntsville right after graduating and moved to Atlanta where I was employed by Southern Bell. They paid for my college and after many years, and I finally graduated with a BA. 


        Over the years, I have attended some of the reunions, and have always enjoyed them. I have often wondered why some people who live in Huntsville or other nearby places, never attend. Your article talking about people not wanting to meet up with their ex, intrigued me because I never thought of that. At this year's reunion, I talked to some people who actually signed my year book, but I didn't know it at the time. I am thankful for the committees and all they did. I believe this year was the best ever.


        And thank you Tommy for the weekly Traveller. I am doing some catch up reading there. Your dedication is more than awesome.


        Best Regards,


(Editor's Response:  Thanks for the email Jennie. I am positive the writing of my journal is responsible for my "great" memory, but I use other crutches to preserve many things. Movies and music are two key examples. I can relate stories and people to times when a song came out or a movie was released. One exercise I do isto go to a Goldie Goldie music channel on cable or listen to an oldie Pandora station and when each song comes up I try to relate it  to an event in my life and a person I shared it with. It is fun and keeps me sharp.)

Trivia Answer:  Scout Pete Nolan

Trivia Answer: Eric Burdon 

Join the Mailing List to Receive Notification When New Issue is Available 


 Email Me