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160912 September 12, 2016


Containing My Memories
Tommy Towery
LHS '64

The other day I had a ham sandwich for lunch and after I ate it I washed out the little plastic container that it, like most lunch meats today, came in. Those little container never go straight to my trash can the way the old plastic wrappers did in the past. Those containers have become my “free” storage containers for many of the items I need to put in something to store, I probably have two dozen or so and probably twice that many if I would admit it. I put a lot of my computer cords and connectors in them, and we have started putting our Christmas ornaments in them as well, to keep them from getting crushed during the year between uses.

     I started thinking about the things in my past which were replaced by these little “Tupperware” type plastic boxes, and I came up with a lot of things. 

        Now to set the record straight, I am talking about containers which were never supposed to be kept, and which most normal people throw away. I am not talking about containers like jelly jar glasses or the old flour sacks that were made of material which our grandmothers used to make quilts or dresses from. How many Coke bottles ended up with a sprinkler head in their mouths and lived on the edge of an ironing board?  No, I am talking about containers which remained containers, but were re-purposed to hold other things. I remember before most of our times earlier generations saved snuff cans and some were still in my grandmother’s drawer when I was growing up. We all have our own memories of those things.

I suppose the first things that came to mind were shoe boxes. In my early childhood, many of my treasures were stashed away in discarded shoe boxes. These held things like my toy soldiers and baseball cards and rocks and sticks picked up from the playground. Although they were not very sturdy, they held a lot of stuff.

Next on my list were things very much like shoe boxes, only sturdier and had attached lids which did not come off or get lost. Those of us lucky enough to have fathers who smoked cigars were the recipients of the great old cigar boxes. I did not have such a father, but my grandmother worked at a café which sold cigars and was happy to bring the empty ones home to me when I asked her. It should not surprise many of you to know that I still have some of those. My cigar boxes also got extra lives as a neat pencil box.  The ones that survived are the ones in which I kept the loose stamps of my stamp collection and some of the coins I acquired. One box is full of first day cover envelopes which I collected for a while. If you were lucky enough to get your hands on a wooden cigar box you were really lucky. 

        I did get some metal tubes that were designed to hold a single cigar, which I found were also great containers for coins as well. In college my step-father smoked cigarillos and my tool shed was full of those little square boxes filled with screws, nails, and electrical bits.

One of the smallest and maybe oddest containers which I refused to throw away were the little tin boxes which were used to sell 12 aspirins. I do not know why today, but back when I was attending East Clinton Street Elementary School I would use one of those to carry my lunch money in. A quarter coin fit perfectly in one of them, and I don’t know how many years I used one rather than just put the quarter in my pocket. 

Speaking of tin boxes, no one can forget when tobacco was sold in cans or which can was most remembered. Of course it was Prince Albert tobacco and flea markets today make a mint off of these vintage tins. My parents both smoked when I was growing up, but they both smoked cigarettes and none of the ones they ever bought came in any type of collectable container.

I did not save them as a kid, but later in life baby food jars became a favorite item for folks later in their lives, although I never had as many as some of my friends. In my Air Force days, the little cloth sacks which covered Crown Royal seemed to never make it to a garbage can on its first life. All sorts of trinkets made their way back to the States wrapped in those.

Just as was forecast in “The Graduate,” plastic was the world. Soon everything seemed to be sold in plastic containers. Shelves became full of plastic butter tubs and yogurt containers and garages housed various plastic milk cartons to save small quantities of unknown liquids. 

I am sure I have missed some items obvious to some of you, but it is getting late and I need to wrap this up. Please use it as a springboard to share some of your own memories of containers you “saved” and what you did with them and how many you still have and what has survived because of them.

       White House, TN - Up tending the grand kids for a few days and enjoying not having to do the little things I normally do during the week. Even though I am retired, my honey do list stays full.

Journey to Texas
Mike Crowl
 LHS '65

    Thought I would write a short story about my first days in Houston Tx. We moved there in the late 60s after job opportunities feel short in Huntsville Al.

        I got up  the next morning and started a search for a job in Houston. Being from Huntsville, Houston seemed enormous in size and population.I was on my way into Houston and got onto 610 freeway. Seemed like I was on it for along time . I eventually begin to think I had passed several buildings before over and over !! Sure enough I was able to confirm that I had definitely passed same place several times.

        I finally figured out that the 610 freeway was actually a 610 loop that went round & round Houston. Not knowing of such a loop Freeway, I must have went around Houston on that loop at least 3-4 times. Well I didn't know! I did manage to find my bearings and get off of that loop. Found myself a job and went home. Never told anyone in my family or friends for years.I thought they all would have to much fun with it.

      I guess when you think about it, if you can't laugh at yourself sometimes , you would be pretty stressed out a lot or wired up tight. Laughter can be good for you, even if the laugh is on you.

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

The Vintage Television
Tommy Towery
LHS '64

The Aquanauts

        The Aquanauts (later known as Malibu Run) is an American adventure/drama series that aired on CBS in the 1960-1961 season. The series stars Keith Larsen, Jeremy Slate and Ron Ely, who later replaced Larsen on midseason.

        The hour-long series focuses on the adventures of two Southern California divers, Drake Andrews (Larsen) and Larry Lahr (Slate), who made their living salvaging sunken wrecks. In January 1961, Larsen left the series due to health problems



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