The Day After Graduation
by Tommy Towery
I had thought about saving this idea till closer to the anniversary date, but I have run out of good ideas for a series since the dance series was covered so quickly. So, I fall back to Plan-B.
Many of you have read at least one of my two books based upon the journal I kept during my senior year at Lee High School. Well, high school ended for me, but not the journal. I took it with me to Memphis and continued writing in it for some time. The post-graduation stories have never been shared with anyone before, so it is time to do so now.
Even though I had put miles between me and Huntsville, I did not stop thinking about what I had left behind and what faced me in the future. The Lee High School Class of 1964, not only was the first graduating class, but they were the first ones to hold a graduation ceremony at the Huntsville Stadium. That was on June 2, 1964. Let me remind you of the fact that the day after graduation I moved to Memphis. Not the next week or the next month, but the very next day. I graduated one day, celebrated the same night, and got home and went to bed at 4:30 A.M. Three and a half hours later, at 8:00 A.M. I got up and packed the car and moved away from my hometown and all my friends forever. I have never lived a day in Huntsville since then.
My mother had remarried the year before to an electrician working on Wernher von Braun's office building and after it was completed, she and my new step-father moved to Memphis where he was from. I stayed with my grandmother so I could finish my senior year at Lee. My mother and step-father had a new home built in Memphis for the sum of $12,500. It was a three-bedroom, one-bath house, and it was not only the first new home I had ever lived in, it was the first home that we owned, not rented.
Below is the entry into my journal for that day. It still makes me sad to read it.
Wednesday, June 3, 1964
155th Day – 211 days to follow.
I got up at 8:00 A.M. and packed my things in the car. Told Grandmother good-bye and Mother and I left. Stopped by Dianne’s to tell her bye; then, Aunt Helen’s. Left Huntsville at 9:45 A.M. I slept a little while then drove from Tuscumbia. We got here in Memphis at 2:00 P.M. Took a little nap and we went into town to pick up Clozell at 4:30 P.M. I did not feel the least bit homesick this morning when I left, but the second I walked into my room here it hit me. I just about cried.
Watched The Rise and Fall of Legs Diamond on T.V. Wrote Dianne a letter at 10:00 P.M. It’s going to take me a while to get used to living here. If I had my druther’s I’d druther be back in good ole’ Huntsville. That’ll always be home for me no matter where I live.
The house here is beautiful though. If I can visit Huntsville often enough, I might make it.
Time for bed. It’s going to be a rough night.
I think it is evident from the words I wrote how I felt about Huntsville, and probably why I still feel so even though the town which disappeared in my rear view mirror back in 1964 is nothing like the same town today.
I was a high school graduate. I had been accepted for the fall classes at Memphis State University and needed a job now that I was no longer just a student. I had never worked before for any period of time, and I was in a new town with no friends at all – nada!
Lee’s Traveller is not just about my life. It is the bond between a lot of us. I am asking any of you regular contributors to take a few minutes if you can and see if you can recall how you felt the day, or the week, after graduation. What were your plans, your dreams, your fears? I ask the regulars, because there are a few I know I can count on to comply. I am just as interested in hearing from any of you who wish to take the opportunity to contribute. Just email me with your own thoughts.
Memphis, TN - March Madness is still going on and my bracket continues to be busted. I have been busy this last month working on the seventh book in my B-52 crew stories series and have it almost finished.
I hope some of you will help me out with the stories I have requested. Your submissions don't have to be long - just tell us how you felt.
Lee Lunch Bunch Scheduled
28 April, 2016
Patsy Hughes Oldroyd
It is still over a month away, but it is not too early for everyone to save the date for our next Lee Lunch Bunch. Please mark your calendars for the last Thursday of April, and do plan to join us. We have not met since right before our big 50th reunion, so we have a lot of catching up to do. Also, it will be a good time for many of the '66 bunch to touch base about their upcoming 50th celebration. As always, please let me know if you plan to come so we can give Logan’s an accurate number. They do require this in order to let us keep reserving the nice fireplace room at their restaurant.
Thanks a bunch and hope to see you there,
Patsy Hughes Oldroyd ’65
256 431-3396 text or call
Click on Either Poster to get a larger view.
I believe the following are songs that most of the Lee Generals will remember with a certain fondness:
#1 - Please Mr. Postman by the Marvelettes
#2 - She's Got You by Patsy Cline, a crossover to Rock 'n Roll
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Subject: No Mail This Week