My Day After Graduation
By Mike Crowl
My day after graduation was filled with a sense of fear and great responsibility. My parents were very forceful as to what my plans were. They were ready to push me out of the nest. I was the last of four children and my brother and two sisters were already gone. I chose to go to UAH, since my finances did not allow me to go anywhere else. My major plan was to be a marine biologist.
My real day (of the awareness) after graduation came late in the fall of 1965. My parents packed up and moved to California. They got up one morning and said they were leaving that day. I was quite traumatized for awhile. I had a job at Kroger doing night stocking and found a room to rent on Pulaski Pike for ten dollars a week while I continued school.
Finances forced me out of school in ‘66 and I was invited into the draft for the US Army. That was my new home. It offered some stability for me and structure too. I excelled very well, got married, we had our first child and I did a tour in Vietnam. I came home to Huntsville after my time in the service and worked at IBM in the research park until I was laid off in ‘68.
That's when my wife and I decided it was time to move to Texas. It was the land of opportunity and jobs back then, plus my wife's parents lived there. I stayed there close to 50 years; however, I always wanted to come back to the Huntsville area. There were many times in my life I missed home.
When we retired, we took a vacation to the Chattanooga area. We found a great place and moved back. We also have a home in Huntsville.
Tommy is right; Huntsville has changed, but as I ride around and see different areas of Huntsville I can remember it as it was when I was a child. It brings back good memories.
I feel very blessed to have returned home after all these years. It has been very fulfilling for me. Every day we are off on new adventures, catching up with old friends, and enjoying the wonderful areas of North Alabama and Tennessee.
Memphis, TN - Thanks to the few of you who sent me their thoughts on the day after they graduated. I am going to use them in the order received. I have inputs from Mike Acree, Dianne Hughey McClure, and Polly Redd so far.
I got this from a friend this week and thought it was appropriate to share it with my Fami-Lee.
The following is the philosophy of Charles Schulz, the creator of the 'Peanuts' comic strip.
You don't have to actually answer the questions. Just ponder on them. Just read the e-mail straight through, and you'll get the point.
1. Name the five wealthiest people in the world.
2. Name the last five Heisman trophy winners.
3. Name the last five winners of the Miss America pageant.
4. Name ten people who have won the Nobel or Pulitzer Prize.
5. Name the last half dozen Academy Award winners for best actor and actress.
6. Name the last decade's worth of World Series winners.
How did you do?
The point is, none of us remember the headliners of yesterday. These are no second-rate achievers. They are the best in their fields. But the applause dies .. Awards tarnish ... Achievements are forgotten. Accolades and certificates are buried with their owners.
Here's another quiz. See how you do on this one:
1. List a few teachers who aided your journey through school.
2. Name three friends who have helped you through a difficult time.
3. Name five people who have taught you something worthwhile.
4. Think of a few people who have made you feel appreciated and special.
5. Think of five people you enjoy spending time with.
The people who make a difference in your life are not the ones with the most credentials, the most money ... or the most awards.
They simply are the ones who care the most.
Extracted - Not Pulled
by Tommy Towery
In the latter part of the week I had to go to the oral surgeon and have a tooth extracted. Back in our Lee High School days I would word that sentence as “I had to go to the dentist and have a tooth pulled.” This time I had to go to my dentist to find out what was wrong with my tooth (cost unknown) and then to the oral surgeon for a consultation (again cost unknown). Then I had to make another appointment to have the work done. The cost for just the procedure was $965, partially covered by my dental insurance, but I know I had to pay $296 up front out of my own pocket. I wonder what it cost to have a tooth pulled in 1964.
I have a much better relationship with my dentist today that I did when I was a teenager. As a matter of fact I consider my dentist a friend. He is a retired Air Force Guard officer and my wife and I socialize with his family. Back then (in ’64) my dentist was Dr. England and my mother was his dental assistant, but I did not visit him very often. His office was in the Terry-Hutchens Building. It was only after I joined the Air Force that regular dental visits, checkups, x-rays, and cleanings became part of my normal routine.
I still remember vividly a trip to the dentist when I was in elementary school. My teeth were in such bad shape I had to be put to sleep before they could work on them. That was in the days of ether, and I remember them putting the little white mask over my mouth and nose and dripping ether onto it until I lost consciousness. It was like breathing paint thinner. I think the dentist worked on about nine of my teeth that day. One other dental visit remains in my mind. One of my front teeth was growing, but for some reason could not break through the skin on my gum. I had to go to the dentist and he took a scalpel and literally sliced a slit in my gum and my tooth grew about 3/4” before the day was done.
On the trip last week, I had my choice of Nitrous oxide (laughing gas) or IV Propofol sedation. I had never had laughing gas until a year ago - after watching Revenge of the Pink Panther I never knew what to expect. I was surprised how good it did work. Under my old dental insurance, the last time I had some major dental work it would have cost me $500 out of my pocket for the Propofol, but the gas was covered. This time it was just the opposite, my plan covered the sedation but I would have had to pay $95 that wasn’t covered if I elected to get the Nitrous Oxide.
An hour before the surgery I was given a Valium to take and was given a prescription for oxycodone to ease the pain afterwards. I think when I was a kid they told my mother to give me a couple of aspirin and put an ice pack on my jaw. The sedation was a gentle trip into lah-lah land and I really haven’t had much pain afterwards.
Now comes the funny thing. When I was checking out the receptionist gave me my paperwork and in the stack was a zip lock bag with the tooth which had been extracted. I wondered if they did so just to prove they really “extracted” it, and if so, would that be more proof than the gaping hole left in my upper jaw?
What was I supposed to do with it, take it to show-and-tell? I think somewhere in my stash I still have the teeth they “pulled” back in Huntsville in the Fifties – but I can’t swear to it. I wasn't instructed what to do with them when I got home - no doctor's orders.
Getting the tooth back this time made me think back about something else that happened to me in Huntsville when I was a kid. Another memory of the ether procedure was the time I had my tonsils and adenoids taken out. When I woke up then, I was sent home with my tonsils in a little glass bottle filled with alcohol. They sat on my mantle for months I think before being moved to a drawer and finally disappearing in a reverse-Easter Bunny operation. One day they were there, and then they were not.
What were we supposed to do with a bottle of tonsils? And today, looking back, how gross was that? Were doctors required to return to you the body parts removed from your body during procedures? I’m glad that rule wasn’t in effect when I was circumcised!
The best part of this whole ordeal also brought back childhood memories. There, along with my bill for $965, my oxycodone prescription, my decayed tooth and follow up procedures were five gift cards redeemable for free milkshakes from McDonalds. What a welcome treat. I do remember the ice cream prescription after losing my tonsils.
Does any of this bring back any memories for you?
Two weeks ago I featured a James Brown song. No memory of James Brown would be complete without remembering this song and this performance.
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.
From Our Mailbox
Subject: Thank You Sir Tommy
Ann Pat King Fanning
What would we, yhe Lee Fami-Lee, do without you and your amazing interest in our "golden years" - and value it enough to follow-through with school memories, history of the era, and the time you take to share it all with us. Bless you, dear friend. We are blessed indeed.
I only wish I'd had the foresight (farsight??) to journal my life. Sometimes I want to do a "timeline" of it all, but I freeze at the thought or where to start. Maybe one day.... ;-)
Have a great week...
Subject: Sandi Bauknecht Akin
Do you remember Sandi Bauknecht. She was the younger sister of my high school sweetie, Barbara Bauknecht. I know that she went to Lee but I don't know if she graduated. In any regard, here's her obit. (Class of '68, I believe.)