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160502 May 2, 2016


Traveling Back in Time
Tommy Towery
LHS '64
        Some weeks when I lack inspiration for a lead story for The Traveller, I turn to my previous writings for ideas. This is one of those weeks. When reading the passage written in "A Million Tomorrows...Memories of the Class of '64" for this date, I found an interesting observation and shall share it with you readers. Even though many of you have read my books, you might not recall everything you read. So, with that thought in mind, I will take you with on on a trip back in time.

        I remind you, the first part of the entry (in italics) was what I wrote in the journal back in 1964. The rest of the comments were made 25 years later as I reflected upon those entries.

        Saturday, May 2, 1964
123rd Day - 243 days to follow

        Got up around 12:00 A.M.  Ate and watched T.V. and listened to the radio.  Watched Young At Heart on T.V. then went up M's for a while.  Paul came over and we went riding around.  He brought me over to my house and I stayed here till 7:30 P.M. when he came back by.
We were going to go to the dance but hardly anyone was there so we didn't stay again tonight.  At 8:15 P.M. we went skating instead.  At 10:00 P.M. we picked Bob up and went out J's.

        Bob and I got back to his house around 10:45 P.M.  We got his car and went to the 72 Drive In - sneaked in - and saw the last half of The Vikings.  Got out around 12:00 P.M. and went back to Bob's and to bed.

        Not quite as sleepy tonight as I was last night.

        I also watched Northern Dancer win the 90th Kentucky Derby on T.V.  He set a new record of 2:00 minutes flat!  Perty swift.

        Time is elusive.  It was running out for me and I could do nothing to stop it.  I had only four weekends left in Huntsville.  Time was running, and I was running with it.  Each dance that I did not attend could never be relived.  Each one I missed, I missed forever.

        Paul and I were searching for something to do that we would enjoy together.  The lack of a crowd at the dance forced us to search for something else.  We ended up at the roller rink, another last trip to the place where I discovered puberty.  It was there, rolling around on the floor, dressed in a pink or white skating skirt.  Once I had found it, my weekend activities were never the same.  Paul did not feel at home on wheels like I did.  He was one of the clumsy ones who went around stiff-legged and used the seat of his pants to keep the dirt off of the floor.  I knew that if he had tried he would have gotten better, but it would take a few weekends to accomplish the feat.

        It had taken a couple of years of weekends for me to learn to skate really well.  Then I discovered that the drive-in theaters were a much better place to take a date.  Most teenagers had a special place in their heart for the drive-ins.  On that night, I went to see the show.  I went with Bob, and we were without dates.  Since we couldn't get any romance out of the trip, we decided to see if we could get any adventure.  We tried once more to see if we could get in without paying.  On that night, it was no real challenge.  No one really cared if you sneaked in for the last 30 minutes of a movie.  By that time, the only one left working was the projectionist, and he could not care less if the whole world came or went.  We sneaked in without a challenge and sat and half-way watched the rest of the movie while we talked once again about our futures and our pasts.

        There was a fundamental difference in the future and the past.  Each span held a special feeling.  The future was hope, the past was memories.  Today, my journal and its writings hold my ticket to the past.  I can go there whenever I wish.  It is not a physical transition into the past, but it is a transition just the same.  It is a mental transition.

        With the help of my journal, each small event in my life as a seventeen-year-old can become a reality once again, in a way that only H.G. Wells would understand.  The time machine that is used is not made of nuts and bolts and spinning wheels, but of pen and paper; however, the transportation is just as real.  For some time travellers, the vehicle may be old photos in a picture album; for others, an old 8mm movie film that flickers in the dark.  For future generations, it will undoubtedly be video tape.  They're strange vehicles that will take people back in time into events of their previous lives.

        People can sit with a box of photos, and with each one, jump back and forth through the times of their lives.  They relive the joys and sorrows with all the friends.  They see people as they were then and not as they now are.  Relatives and friends, lost in time, remain alive in such mediums.  They are waiting for the doors to be opened once more.

        When I was seventeen and read "The Time Machine" and saw the movie with Rod Taylor, I wished that such travel might really be possible.  At that time, I felt that it if it were ever perfected, it would be a physical transition, perhaps aboard such a vehicle as the one used in the movie.  A few years ago, another movie was released that looked at time travel in a whole different light and made me reconsider the possibilities.  The movie made the traveler's mind his time device.  It was not an external object.  That seemed even more possible.

        In no movie, has the vehicle ever been a simulated leather book.  Perhaps therein lies the true vessel needed to span the vastness of time.  Time travel in this manner is not physical, but mental.  The body does not leave the present, but only the mind and memory of the traveler make the journey.  As I write this, such travel has taken place.  Each day, a leg of the journey was covered.  Each word was a key to an event in my past.  Each name was a face from the past.  Each event was set in concrete, in pen and ink.  There is no changing the past.  The only change that can be made in the way we view it or remember it.  

        Key events in time will always stay the same.  Key events like Northern Dancer winning the Kentucky Derby.  That is now a part of everyone's history.  Other events connected to the race became individual property and only survive in the memories of the time traveller.  I have my own special memories of the Kentucky Derby, not just this one, but the whole concept of the Kentucky Derby.  The one that I watched on that day was documented.  What wasn't documented were my other memories of the race.  Of particular note was my uncle's involvement with the annual event.

        My uncle was an excavating and paving contractor in Huntsville.  Every year he joined other contractors on a trip to Kentucky for the race.  A special car was added to a train that started in Mobile, Alabama and made its way north to Kentucky.  It stopped in all the major cities between the two points and picked up key contractors for a hospitality trip.  It was paid for by a big equipment dealer who wanted to impress his clients and sell more equipment.  The train had free food and free booze all the way to the race, and by the time it arrived there most of the participants didn't even know they were in Kentucky, let alone why they were there.

        My uncle was the only person I knew who had gone to the Kentucky Derby almost every year, but had never seen the race.  He had such a good time with the rest of the crowd on the train that by the time he arrived and checked into the free hotel room he was dead tired and went straight to bed.  He never seemed to make it out to the racetrack.  He just rode the train up, and rode the train back and had a good time.

        Such trips were real.  They actually physically happened.  Time travel is different.  It may or may not be real.  It may be real for some and not for others.  Memories are real, and can cover not only miles, but also years.


There was a TV cartoon character and companion who had a time machine also. Do you know who they were and what their time machine was called?

        Memphis, TN -  Thanks to Patsy Hughes Oldroyd for giving us an update on the recent Lee Lunch Bunch gathering. I wish we could have made it but we were in Shreveport, Louisiana, attending the Barksdale AFB Air Show. It turned out to be a beautiful day and we thoroughly enjoyed it.


Lee Lunch Bunch 04-28-16
Patsy Hughes Oldroyd 
LHS ‘65

        The Lee Lunch Bunch met last Thursday at Logan’s Restaurant in Huntsville for one of our twice a year gatherings. Members from the classes of ’64, ’65, and ’66, enjoyed social time and lunch with former classmates in the fireplace room of the restaurant. About fifty members were in attendance with at least six of those being from out of state. Also, there were at least five of the group who were there for the first time. They all expressed their appreciation for the effort to keep this group together, and also said they had a wonderful time reconnecting with old friends from our school days together. 

        I must express my sincerest apologies for omitting a special greeting to acknowledge the presence of our very own Mrs. Sue Faulkner, who is a regular for these lunches. It is always so good to see her there, and we do hope that she will continue to attend every time in the future. So, Mrs. Faulkner, if you read this, please forgive me.

        I am sure that all of us give a special thanks to Susan Sims Harper ’65, who not only made lots of candid photos of the LLB, but she also drove down from Springfield, VA, as she always does, to enjoy this special time with our former classmates.

        Please mark your calendars and save the date for our next LLB which will be the last Thursday of October (10-27-16).

        Reminders will be posted closer to that date by Tommy on The Traveller website. As always, we have much appreciation for Tommy for his dedication in keeping us all connected with The Traveller.

        Don’t hesitate to contact me if you have any questions about the LLB through Facebook, email, or text  256 431-3396  (home phone (256) 232-7583. 

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

The Vintage Television
Tommy Towery
LHS '64

        Captain Gallant of the Foreign Legion is an American half-hour black-and-white television series about the French Foreign Legion starring Buster Crabbe in the title role. Crabbe's real-life son Cullen Crabbe played the Legion mascot, with cowboy sidekick Fuzzy Knight playing himself as Legion comedy relief. The series premiered on NBC on 13 February 1955 and ended its first run with the 65th episode shown on 7 December 1957.

        The first season of the television show was filmed on location in French Morocco with many actual Legionnaires and their installations featuring in the show. With increased danger to the crew, the series moved to Italy. The studio was one owned by Sophia Loren and was just outside the gates of the US Army base, Camp Darby, near Pisa.

Captain Gallant


Click on Either Poster to get a larger view.



From Our Mailbox 


Subject:    One More Encyclopedia Story

Jeffrey Fussell

LHS '66

        Our parents also invested in The World Book Encyclopedia.  It made an impressive bookshelf display in its white faux-leather binding.  For some years afterward, we’d receive an update volume with a set of gummed labels to be affixed to certain articles in the encyclopedia pointing the reader to a page in the update volume. It was a learning experience just finding each World Book article and placing the label on the page like a postage stamp. 

        Before the World Book acquisition, over many months, my mother purchased the complete Funk & Wagnalls Standard Reference Encyclopedia while grocery shopping.  Although a credible reference, its status as a supermarket promotional item seemed to erode its academic cachet.  “Look that up in your Funk & Wagnalls…” even became a stock laugh line on Rowan & Martin’s “Laugh-In” show. 

        Maybe so, but having both references in the home was a benefit that had value exceeding the cost many times over.

Subject:    Winky Dink Story
Taylor Wright
LHS '66

        First I would like to express my condolences to the family of Ricky Edmonds.I remember him well since he was one of our football managers at Lee. He was a great guy and even though I've not seen him in years it made me stop and reflect on how sad it is when anyone from our Familee has passed.

        As for Mr. Winky Dink, I remember that show with harsh reality. As a 7-year-old living in Tennessee before our migration to Alabama, I often begged my mama to buy me the kit so that I could see the secret words that he had for us. For some reason I never got one. One day I had taken all I could take and had to know what Winky was saying to me so I followed his secret writing with crayons on the screen of our old big screen Philco TV. When mama got home there was hell to pay and a little chore that I had to perform in  washing the crayon off our old TV. Was I a brat or just inquisitive? Probably a little of both.

Subject:    Encyclopedia Story
Bruce W. Fowler
LHS '66

     Most excellent article on encyclopedias. I thank you for the pointer to the exposition. Will put it on my list.

     Over and above that, however, I found the article heartening and warming. It affirms that encyclopedias were part of our social culture as children. I have held the conjecture that they were but have been unable to find much supporting studies. There are lots on comic books but so far as I have found none on encyclopedias. (Not that I would denigrate comic books, nor MAD magazine.)

     As a child my parents used encyclopedias (and my reading fervor) to lessen trips to the old Carnegie library. They would buy a new - different - set every year or so, whenever I would finish the previous set. Never World Books, sadly, but Richard's Topical, Funk and Wagnals, Library of Scienes, and, most wonderfully, those Golden Books you described. I still buy the Britannica (on DVD) every year and go through the manipulations to install it under WINE. 

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