I felt good reading Don Stroud's message several issues ago about his college selection and for the first time I heard from a classmate whose story was a parallel to mine. For the first time since being at Lee I can admit I was not a good student at Lee and was one of many that attended from the 7th to 12th. My parents both had job transfers from Anniston, AL just weeks before starting the 7th grade and this was very unsettling to me as a "Right of Passage" in Anniston was attending the only Junior High in town, then Anniston High.
I did not prepare for life after Lee and remember the day we had to complete our profile for the Year Book and there it was - the question about what college I would attend. Since my best friend, Mike Garrison was with me I saw him plug in Florence State and that sounded good to me, so if you look at the 1965 Silver Saber that was my college ambition.
Marty (Martha Fincher) and I had been dating from our junior year, but her dad moved his business back to Birmingham weeks after graduation so I was trying to figure that out, along with the Nam build up. I heard about a move by the state to open 13 Junior Colleges and that sounded like the perfect ticket because I could qualify for a Student Deferment (2-S). So I enrolled at UCLA (University of Calhoun Long Side the Airport) and found myself ill prepared for advanced math. In my second quarter I dropped a math class that dropped me below full time student and also dropped me from 2-S Draft Classification and I was gone.
One the second day of Basic Training at Ft. Benning one of the D.I.'s asked for a show of hands of those that had gone to college and since I "had been to college" I raised my hand and was one of eight selected to be Squad Leaders. That turned out to be my first experience with Adult Day Care, but little did I know being a Squad Leader also elevated me
to E-2 rank.
I left Benning for AIT at Ft. Dix and learned after arriving I had been promoted to E-3 and all the Slick Sleeves around me were still E-1. I received orders to report January 2, 1967, to The Field Artillery OCS School at Ft. Sill and upon reporting I learned the captain I reported to was a Nebraska grad and Bama had dismantled the Corn Huskers a couple of nights earlier. During the job Interview with him I learned it was an E-5 slot and I had to be at least an E-4 to be considered. "Despite being from Alabama" he was going to offer me the job and request I be elevated to E-4, so with four months in the Army I was an E-4 and from what I could tell it was just because I had raised my hand to say I had attended college.
After a tour at the Berlin Wall I took an Early Drop to enroll back in college and it was easier to apply for readmission to "UCLA" from Germany. I went straight through making the Dean's List all six quarters at Calhoun and found myself with the opportunity to do a Buck List item, attending Alabama. Marty was in agreement but by this time I was working full time and being a full time student. Since I had taken Marty away from her family when we were in Germany, I thought it was better to apply to UAB - which at that time was The University of Alabama at Birmingham and not a separate campus like today.
I received a BS in June of 1972, 36 months after taking an Early Drop and I proved to myself I was a decent student. If only I had applied myself at Lee my life would have been easier for both me and Mrs. Webster.
And as I said above, it all started on a hot August day at Ft. Benning when I raised my hand to say I had attended college.
Not Papa Smurf (but Papa Stroud)
and Other Tales
by John Drummond
Recently a bunch of emails were passed back and forth by some LHS classmates. In response to one one them I sent this Corvair picture. It reminded me of the Corvair that Don Stroud's father, a.k.a. "Papa Stroud", bought when the model was first introduced. A Chevy Loyalist to the core, Papa Stroud purchased the Sport Model (a red one, no less) into which could be crammed 5 (five) lucky LHS guys who thought we were really cool, and Don and his buddies could cruise through Shoney's in style.
I'm afraid I am doing Don a disservice by remembering this vehicle as just a Corvair; I think the full name was a red Monza Spyder, Chevrolet's Sport Model answer to Ford's 1964 Mustang. I recall that the engine was in the rear, which was one of the reasons Ralph Nader wrote about the car in his book "Unsafe at Any Speed." The only cooler ride among our peer group was Niles Ramsey's 1957 turquoise and white Chevy Bel Air, the ultimate in Classic American cars.
This topic of cars reminds of a true story that happened in the LHS library, 1963-64 school year. Among the new sport models were the GTO and Ford's 500XL. Miles Ramsey slammed down his Algebra book, and said to no one in particular at the library table: "Man, I am just gonna have to quit school; I just can't figure out this math stuff."
J.R. Brooks happened to be at the table, and asked him: "Why, Miles, I am surprised at you; don't you want to excel?" Miles stared at J.R. for a moment and replied: "Naw, Man, I want a Corvette."
Memphis, TN - Once again I am keyed into thinking about my own past from the cars mentioned in John's Story. My infamous "Red Bomb", the 1953 Ford Customline V-8, was left in Huntsville the day after graduation and my move to Memphis. There I became the proud owner of a two-door 1953 Chevy Bel Air Hardtop convertible - which was not a convertible at all. It only had the same windows as a convertible, which meant there was no door frame from the doors to the roof. A thrown rod in it made me the proud owner of a 1960 Ford Falcon - finally getting me out of the Fifties era cars.
When I was married in 1968 and before heading off to the Air Force, my new wife and I bought a 1965 Ford 500 (not XL) but Galaxy. It was a Police Interceptor, which was a real former police car. It had a 390 cubic inch engine and posi-traction rear end. I paid $600 for it when I bought it from the head mechanic for the Memphis Police Department, who was a family friend of my wife's family. He knew it was coming up for auction, so he fixed it all up and put brand new tires on it before he bought it - then sold it to us.
With the statue of limitations long behind me, and several states separating me from the incident, I can now admit one day a certain new butter bar Air Force officer, found a five mile stretch of open Texas desert highway, and pushed the speedometer of that vehicle to the 120mph indicator. Man, that police car had some get-up-and-go.
My brother Don (back), my mother, and me and our TV on East Clinton Street.
The Vintage Television
1965 TV Shows Part 2
From Our Mailbox