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160425 April 25, 2016

Richard Stockton "Ricky" Edmonds II 
Oct. 13, 1947 - Apr. 17, 2016
LHS '65

        Richard Stockton Edmonds II, 67, of Fayetteville, TN passed away Sunday at his residence surrounded by his loving family.

        Richard was a native of Camp Hill, PA and a resident of the Fayetteville area for over 10 years. He retired after 30 years with Huntsville Utilities as Safety and Security Director and was a Life Member of the Single Action Shooting Society.

        Survivors include his wife: Carole E. Edmonds; three daughters: Kimberly Kramitz Bray (Marc), Vickie Kramitz Rigsby (Tom) and Michelle McHugh Gibson (Steve); seven grandchildren and one great-granddaughter.

        In lieu of flowers memorial donations may be made to the SASS Scholarship Fund or to the Greater Huntsville Humane Society.

Pat Mullins Hargrove's Husband

Doyal Ray "Red" Hargrove
Oct. 1, 1940 - Apr. 21, 2016

        Doyal Ray "Red" Hargrove, 75, of Harvest, passed away Thursday. Mr. Hargrove was retired from the Madison Police Department after 27 years. Survivors include his wife: Pat Hargrove (LHS '64); four children: Dee Hargrove (Kelly), Becky Webster (Keith); Dwayne Upton, and Danny Upton; three stepchildren: Lisa Bergmen, Mike Nelson, and Tripp Nelson; sister, Katie Ruth Johnson; nine grandchildren; and three great-grandchildren. Visitation will be Monday from 5:00 - 8:00 p.m. at Berryhill Funeral Home. Chapel service will be held Tuesday at 11:00 a.m. with Everett Conn, Mike Shaneyfelt, and Norm Webb. A private family graveside will follow at Huntsville Memory Gardens.

        Memphis, TN - For those of you who are Facebook users, there is a new group called Lee High School Friends which is populated by our crowd. I know many of you do not Facebook (can I make that a verb?) so do not worry, Lee's Traveller will continue. There are some things we can do here which do not work the same way on Facebook.

        We have a big issue this week. Our thoughts and prayers go out for those member of the Fami-Lee who we lost recently.


A World of Knowledge
Tommy Towery
LHS '64

        Rainer’s encyclopedia story last week hit close to home for me. Most of my friends know I started the ninth grade at Lee Junior High in 1960. My close friends know that when I did I lived at home with my brother Don, my mother, and my maternal grandmother. My parents were divorced in 1954 when I was eight years old. Divorce was not all that common in those days, and living in a one-parent family was rare. Back then I thought I knew why they were divorced, but with the wisdom I have acquired in my aging process I know now I really did not know the true story I always thought I knew. Having gone through a divorce myself, I now know there are many reasons couples split up, and it is not always a black and white issue. My very close friends also know that when I graduated from Lee in 1964 I was living in public housing on Webster Drive in Lincoln Park. You don’t get to live in public housing if you have a lot of money, so we fit in real good there. We didn’t have a lot of money. We barely had what we needed, financially, but more than made up for it with family love.

        I make these statements to underscore the fact I never really knew how much of a financial sacrifice my mother and grandmother must have made when they let the encyclopedia salesman talk them into purchasing the set of World Book Encyclopedias they bought in 1955. They were told, I am sure, how much they would help Don and me in our studies at school and how much knowledge we would amass by having the multi-volume reference set at home to aid us in our school work. I am positive they were assured that by having this fount of knowledge, Don and I would make good enough grades to go to college and enter the workplace with an education which would allow us to build a fortune in savings and live good lives.

        For the life of me, I cannot say that was all just a sales pitch, for I honestly know I used that expensive set of World Books up until I left home after graduating from college. I only got rid of them when my mother moved into an assisted living facility and I had no use or room for them in my house and they were so out of date they seemed useless to give to anyone else I knew.

        It is only in my old age I reflect upon how much my grandmother and mother did without to assure Don and me a chance for a good education. To be honest, my father was not a very big part of my life during those days, but he did pay child support until I graduated from high school. There were periods when he was late and had to have a little nudge to pay it, but there were extenuating circumstances, and I know I never showed much gratitude for his court ordered support.  I also know there were lots of better uses for my mother’s and grandmother’s money than an expensive set of reference books, but they saw beyond the cost of the books and into the investment, and I am ever so grateful they did. I can honestly say I could never put a value on the ability to use the World Books on my shelf at home for my studies.

        In my research I cannot find out how much a set of World Book Encyclopedias sold for in 1955, but I know they were a drain on my family’s budget. Today a set of the printed books cost $1,100 and based upon the inflation index, the same set would have sold for $125 in 1955. I have always remembered them costing about$150, so that is close enough to make my point. To underscore the expense of the set, I will tell you a few things I remember about our financial situation when the stack of red books arrived at our house. At the time I grandmother made $40 a week as a short-order cook at the Rebel Inn. My mother worked at the Light, Gas, and Water Department and I do not know how much she made. Our rent for the house on East Clinton was $65 a month. Lunches at East Clinton School were 25 cents a day.

        Before the red, leather bound, 18-volume A through Z books came into my home, we had another massive book of knowledge. I do not know the history of it, because it was already in my home by the time I remember anything. It was a large book which was stored on the treadle foot of our Singer sewing machine because we never had a bookshelf in our house until we got the World Books

        The book was a large 23.6-pound brown leather covered book with gold lettering called “The Volume Library - A Concise, Graded Repository of Practical and Cultural Knowledge Designed for Both Instruction and Reference.” It was the largest book I had ever seen and was full of facts which only people like Bruce Fowler could appreciate. I don’t even know how I found anything in it. A little research today describes the book as follows:

        “The Volume Library brings together knowledge on a variety of subjects, it is ready reference but more than that is a very enjoyable read as you flip through the pages. Even in this day of internet online access to everything - you must first conceive of what you are looking for - here it just pops up as you flip the pages. Some of the contents are: Education, Language and Grammar, Literature, history, Geography, trade and industry, atlas, biography, dictionary, mathematics, science, government and Law, Hygiene, fine arts and finally a fun book on useful miscellany.” Many, many illustrations – including some color plates. 2,422 pages.

        It was like a Farmer’s Almanac on steroids. Did you notice the 2,422 pages? My first memory of the book was not about the educational property it possessed, but it being used as a “booster chair” addition to our kitchen dinette to let me sit high enough to reach the table. 

        I believe our edition was the 1946 version – the year I was born. I have found a public domain site where you can view an earlier version.

        I also remember one more set of encyclopedias I used for school work. It was not an expensive set like the World Books, but instead was purchased one volume each week from the Kroger’s store up the street on East Clinton. Just like the weekly continued series at the Saturday morning picture shows, we always had to come back the next week to get the next volume in the series. I seem to remember them costing  99 cents a volume and it took determination and sometimes a little luck to make sure you got the current week’s volume, else you would bust up the whole set.

        Again, research shows the following information on this set of books.

        "The Golden Book Encyclopedia is a set of children's encyclopedias published by Western Printing and Lithographing Company under the name Golden Press. Advertised with circulars in newspapers, the encyclopedias were sent out in weekly or bi-weekly installments. Supermarket chains, such as Kroger used these encyclopedias as a promotional hook to lure shoppers."

        The front page of every volume describes the books as, "Fact-filled Volumes Dramatically Illustrated with More Than 6,000 Pictures. The Only Encyclopedia for Young Grade-school children. Accurate and Authoritative. Entertainingly written and illustrated to make learning an adventure." Subjects covered in the series included nature, science, history, geography, literature, and the arts.

        60 million copies of individual encyclopedia volumes were sold between 1959 and 1961.

        For me, this set of encyclopedias was my cheat sheet for a lot of homework essays. Since it was not as well known as the real sets of encyclopedias, most teachers were unaware of their existence. And since it was written for children, the working was simple and plain enough to easily copy or paraphrase in my own wording about a multitude of subjects.

        Many of us would have trouble today writing the essays we wrote back then. It was much too easy to just copy sentences and paragraphs from reference books. Some did not even take the time to reword the passages and copied (Plagiarize) the reference material. They would be caught today, especially those at the collegiate level. There is a software program called Turnitin.

        Turnitin is an internet-based plagiarism-prevention service created by iParadigms, LLC, first launched in 1997. Typically, universities and high schools buy licenses to submit essays to the Turnitin website, which checks the documents for unoriginal content. The results can be used to identify similarities to existing sources or can be used in formative assessment to help students learn how to avoid plagiarism and improve their writing.

        I wonder how our grades back then would have been affected by the power of such software. I think we are all happy we did not have to have every paper we did for homework held up to this standard of inspection.

        Whether or not it was because of the encyclopedias in our lives, both Don and I earned a high school diploma, and Don eventually went on to earn an accounting degree from the University of Alabama. I earned a degree in News-Editorial Journalism from Memphis State University, and followed up with a Master's Degree from Texas Christian University and a second Bachelors degree in Information Systems Management from the University of Maryland. Both of Don's children earned college degrees as did my daughter.

        So, that’s my personal encyclopedia history. Thanks Jiminy Cricket.

After Graduation
Polly Gurley Redd
LHS '66

        I have always been so envious of those of you who had journals and could go back and read about a certain day or week in your life. I have never been successful at keeping any kind of journal or diary. When Tommy challenged us to remember our time after graduation, I couldn’t think of anything, and then tonight the power went off early and I went to bed early and now I am up at 2:30 and my mind is racing.

        First a little background: The summer between my junior and senior year I got the opportunity to go to England with a group of Episcopalians from the Diocese of Alabama. We had a relationship with the Anglican Diocese of Coventry located between London and Birmingham, and they were celebrating the rebuilding of their cathedral these many years after it had been bombed during World War II. They had rebuilt a very modern complex leading out of the bombed out shell of the old cathedral and were experiencing hundreds of visitors to the new building. We sent a group of young people to learn about their themes of reconciliation and caring for people around the world and to help with the crowds. Nowadays it would be called a pilgrimage, but back in the 60’s it was just a trip to Coventry. 

        So I was such a seasoned traveler that in the summer after graduation when my parents planned to go to Europe and visit Paris and Brussels and Copenhagen, I was way too sophisticated to be seen with my father, who I thought was an ostentatious “ugly American”. They said I couldn’t stay home alone so the talk turned to “what can we do with Polly”. 

        Enter friends of my parents named the Prongays. They were about 10 years younger than my mother and father and only about 10 years older than I was and therefore so cool. They had 2 young children who were 3 ½ and 1 ½ and Jody, the mother, was pregnant with their 3rd. She wanted to go visit her family in Walla Walla, Washington, and she wanted to drive but her husband David wouldn’t let her go alone, so my parents offered her the use of their larger Cadillac for more room and an easier drive, and me to accompany her to help with driving and children. It was a win-win and I was looking forward to seeing parts of the west I had never seen.

        Jody and I, along with Kamm and Rob, headed west from Huntsville, and I remember driving to Memphis and crossing the Mississippi River and being amazed at how wide it was. Arkansas seemed to take forever to cross, but we finally reached Fort Smith and headed into Oklahoma which was longer still. I remember Jody telling me about what to do if we came across a cow standing in the road and how important it was to not hit the cow. I can hear her now saying, “The cow won’t move when you hit him and it will not be good.” This was of course before seat belts and the kids were just playing on the back seat. She had a code word that she would say if something was about to happen like “slamming on the brakes” so that the kids would flatten themselves and not, theoretically, get thrown into the windshield. I also remember the first time I ran over a prairie dog and how upset I was. I don’t think I had ever even killed a squirrel and to this day I remember that feeling when I hit a small animal on the road. It never gets any better.

        We visited Yellowstone Park and saw Old Faithful and went to Jackson Hole and saw the Tetons. It was there that I really got my “come-uppance” because there was a patio in the hotel with the mountains off in the distance beyond it. Jody wanted a picture of the kids and me and she asked us to stand next to the “parapet”. I had never heard the word and didn’t know where she meant, but Kamm who was her 3 year old, told me that Mommy means the short wall. I was so embarrassed that a 3-year old knew vocabulary that I didn’t and I was heading to college, and she has never let me forget it to this day.

        We visited Salt Lake City and I remember being amazed at the width of the streets in the city and the planning that Brigham Young did building the town. In Walla Walla, I ate sweet onions that I had never before tasted and saw fields and fields of grain in this part of the “plains”. The other piece of driving advice Jody gave me came in Washington, when she told me to never ride too close behind a log truck, particularly if they were heading under any kind of overpass. They were notorious back then for not knowing how tall they were and shearing off a log that would drop on the cars behind them. I never forgot that advice. We then went to Seattle and visited the Space Needle which I hadn’t seen since the World’s Fair several years before. 

        In all it was a great trip. We took our time going out and then were in more of a hurry to return to Huntsville after being gone so long. The return trip included an extra day in Boulder, Colorado, when we ran over a rock on a piece of road construction and had to have a repair done to the car. The whole thing was a priceless lesson in long distance driving, taking care of children, and seeing the wider world. And it was away from my parents. To this day the Prongays are my friends as well as my mother’s. 

        Thanks, Tommy, for sparking the memory.

My brother Don (back), my mother, and me and our TV on East Clinton Street.

The Vintage Television
Tommy Towery
LHS '64

        Here's another nostalgic look at a Saturday morning TV show I remember. I never had a Winky Dink screen, but remember my East Clinton School pal Bob Davis had one and we would watch the show at his house and work the magic.

Winky Dink and You

This Thursday!

 Lee Lunch Bunch
April 28, 2016
Patsy Hughes Oldroyd 
LHS ’65

       Please save the date for our next Lee Lunch Bunch, and 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. 

        If anyone who is coming that has a digital camera, or cell phone that makes really great pictures, and would be willing to make a few photos that day for us to share with you for the Traveller, please do.

Thanks a bunch and hope to see you there, 

Patsy Hughes Oldroyd ’65  email
256 431-3396  text or call

Click on Either Poster to get a larger view.



From Our Mailbox 


Subject:    Wow

Ann Pat King Fanning

LHS '65

        Somehow - in this "hectic" (ha) time of my life - I failed to read the newsletter from last week, and only realized it when I went to read this week's edition. So, I've just enjoyed this time, walking down memory lane with my "friends" - near and far.

        YOU guys and gals are amazing!  Your memories are astounding. I've tried my best to conjure up something that happened to me the "day after graduation" - but it just won't come.  If any of my close friends happen to recall something we may have done together, please let me know.  I sense a great gap in my memory....which now appears to be a "sign of the times to come." 

        Rainer, your e-n-c-y-c-l-o-p-e-d-i-a article touched my heart's strings.  I've no idea how my parents afforded our set (which was white) but I do know I spent hours and hours with my nose in those awesome books. I read them, too, of course!!  I kept up with them for quite some time but eventually donated them to the library.  Then when our children were in middle school I decided to SELL World Book encyclopedias SO I could purchase an "up to date" set for our family.  A new, beautifully golden embossed navy blue set. It still adorns it's place on the TOP shelf of our bookcase.  Unfortunately, I only sold enough sets to "win" our set, and then the fire went out and the zeal to sell passed.  By then the computer was entering our world. What a change was to come -- no need to explain, we all know the rest of that story.  Still I'll keep those encyclopedias and I'm gonna make an effort to intrigue our grandsons to check them out. BUT first I must dust the 2 inches of dust off of the tops of the books. 

        Tommy, the videos brought back so many memories.  We never owned a TV because Daddy sincerely believed "Hollywood" would be the downfall of America and supporting it was just not right!  My "TV" time was spent practicing the piano - for which I am now very grateful, although at the time it felt like punishment.

        The only TV I ever got to see was at friends' homes.  But I got in quite a bit of the programs of that era.  From Mickey Mouse to Frankenstein and game shows; and of course, "Miss America" - hardly missed a show.  I never really absorbed many "soap operas" until years later when Roy and I married and bought our own TV.  Back then - TV really seemed so innocent, but today - it really has become quite a tool for Satan and his antics.  There are still some good shows, but the language and the "lack" of clothing on the women, and the leading innuendos especially, makes many shows un-watchable.  Sad - to see.

        I loved the comic books, too.  Surprisingly, Daddy let me buy one a week and I would read it over and over, and as you did, I'd do some fancy swapping with my pals.  I just wish I'd held on to those comic books - the cost for them today is almost as much as an encyclopedia was in our day.  Ha!  

        I'll close now, but truly do appreciate everyone's effort in keeping our history and famiLEE connected. It means a lot.  If I ever come up with my "day after graduation,"  I'll be sure to let Tommy know.   It may be a miracle. 

        God bless you all!!! Love my LEE family! See you at the Luncheon!

SUBJECT:  Nostalgia

Chip Smoak

LHS '66

        My brother,  my sister, and I were very fortunate.  We had three sets of encyclopedias, World Book Encyclopedia, Encyclopedia Britannica (which my parents also bought on the installment plan), and a third set, the name of which I can not remember now.  They occupied three shelves of the built-in book shelves in the living room of our house.  The three sets provided us expanded knowledge on most subjects.  While all three were in general agreement on a subject, each had a little different information about most subjects, making them very valuable resources throughout our school years until I went to college and had to leave them behind.  

        Unfortunately I do not remember what went with all of them.  I do remember that whenever we moved they were carefully packed and accompanied us to our new home.  I also remember browsing through them and reading about subjects that caught my eye, for which my wife says I was a (horror of horrors) nerd.  I believe I still have one of the sets in storage at a family farm in northeast Texas.  There is just no room for a set of the founts of knowledge in our current house, but they are a treasure of knowledge and nostalgia to me.

        I attended an elementary school that was on the next street from the street where our house was located.  Our route to school was out the back door, through the back yard, over the fence, and through the yard of the neighbor who lived (and still does) behind us.  This made it convenient for us and let us get home in time to watch the Mickey Mouse Club.

        Thanks, Tommy, for the trip down memory lane on the virtual television.

        The Mickey Mouse Club was a pioneer in children's television.  Although we probably did not realize it then, it provided us entertainment and added to our education, even though not as formally as in the classroom.  It inspired updated versions for the children that came behind us, including our own, but we were fortunate to have been privy to the original, which in my opinion, was the best because Walt Disney himself was in charge.

        To tell on myself here, like most guys of our age bracket, I had a crush on Annette.  She was a lot of the appeal of that show, at least for most of the boys.

        As always, thanks for the wonderful job you do with the Lee's Traveller.

Subject:    Last Week's Issue

Polly Gurley Redd

LHS '66

        How I loved ready both Rainer’s essay on the World Book and Mike Acree’s first summer at work. That latter one was very funny and brought back some memories since we knew the Stuhlingers. Nowadays they wouldn’t let an 18 year old anywhere near those things.

        And, Rainer, I too still have our World Books, but I have kept the whole set. I showed them to my grandchildren last year and they were amazed that information was kept in them. I can’t bear to give them up.

        And, yes, Tommy, I sang encyclopedia, and do every time I need to spell it. Thanks for all those memories this week.

Subject:    Stories
Bruce W. Fowler
LHS '66

        Excellent article by Mike Acree. He captured Oscar most accurately. One of the longest years of my life was a flight from Memphis to Huntsville where I sat next Oscar and received a lecture on the cloud formations we passed. I had little problem with his accent but never quite got any insight into whatever science he was trying to impart. Not that I cared very much in those days about clouds except their optical properties and how their particles formed. I learned early on that if one needed to talk to Oscar it was wise to schedule an hour before his lunch break or his end-of-day time. Otherwise you were stuck until.

        The amusing thing about H. D. was his taste in shoes. Always wore two tone, usually wingtips. I believe this accounted for why the TV camera operator was always careful never to show his feet on-air. 

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