View Issues‎ > ‎2017 Issues‎ > ‎1705 May 2017‎ > ‎

170508 May 8, 2017


Lee Lunch Bunch Report

Patsy Hughes Oldroyd
LHS ‘65

The Lee Lunch Bunch (LLB} is in its seventh year and still going strong!  We met, as usual, at Logan’s Roadhouse restaurant on Balmoral Drive in Huntsville this past Thursday.  We had close to forty classmates who were able to attend this time.  As always, we are amazed that some regularly travel so far to join us for lunch and lively conversation with our former  classmates.  One of those regulars is Susan Sims ’65, who travels from Springfield, VA.  Susan has also very graciously taken the pictures of our lunch group most of the time.

Some of those pictures from this past gathering include Judy Fedrowish Kincaid, Sarah Sanders Gilbert, Ken Martz, JoAnne and Don Jarman, Harold Shepherd, Curt Lewis, John Scales, and John and Esther Pierce Hudgins.  These are all members from the class of 1966.  Also, pictured from the class of 1965 are Pam Grooms Smith, Patsy Hughes Oldroyd, Tommy Bush, Elbert Balch, Beth McNabb Weinbaum and Joel Weinbaum ’64, Mike Crowl and his sister Marcia Crowl Hemphill ’64.  In addition, members of the class of 1964 pictured are Bill Whyte, and Rainer Klauss and his wife Gudren Wagner Klaus ’65.  Niles Prestige and Carol Bailey Olson, both from the class of ’65 were among those not pictured because they were “fashionably late”. To any of the others who were not pictured, please forgive if you have not been mentioned here.

It is always a pleasure to see one of our most favorite teachers, Mrs. Sue Faulkner.  As you can see in the picture, she is still as lovely as ever, and still has that wonderful smile. She attends almost every Lee Lunch Bunch gathering and enjoys them as much as we do.

We missed those of you who attend regularly, but were unable to join us this time.  We would love to see many others who have been unable to come for even the first time. It is always so nice to have any of our classmates get to come for the first time. They generally become a regular “Lee Lunch Buncher” after that. We hope to see you all next time we meet on Thursday, October 26, 2017.  Same time.  Same place.  Save the date, and see you then!

The Fireball

The Fireball
Tommy Towery
LHS '64

    Time was on a bobsled run, stealing my youth from me at a breakneck speed, and forcing me to face my fast approaching future whether I was ready or not. An eminent participation role as a member of the first graduation class of Lee High School was demanding me to tie up some loose ends in my life and do so in short order. It had already been foretold I would leave my home on Webster Drive in Lincoln Village the day following graduation and move to Memphis, the new city where I would begin my college life. It was a trip of six hours and several hundred long miles away from my past. It would be a permanent change in my life which I dreaded. 

    One of those loose ends needing my attention was retrieving my roller skates from Carter's Skateland on Traylor Island, the skating rink where they were stored to be used on one of my frequent past trips to the establishment. My skates were special to me and too expensive to leave behind. Unlike the rental skates available at Carter's, my black-booted Chicago skates had precision wheels and were much more maneuverable than the house skates. They were part of the reason I could skate as good as I did. The skates were an unexpected gift from Gene Bales, one of my older brother Don's best friends who had given up skating. Carter's would allow people to leave their skates at the rink for free, so it was not necessary to haul them back and forth between visits.  

    Roller skating had been my obsession for many years and often I had gone to the local rink as many as four or more times in a week. I was a student at Huntsville Jr. High and about 13 years old when I first got bitten by the skating bug. I lived on East Clinton at the time, and when we could afford it, my friend Mike Thompson and I would share the cost of a Cresent Cab ride to the rink. More often we walked the two-mile route, making a short cut over Pinhook Creek to come up in the field behind Carter's.  It was a treacherous route when the creek had risen, and sometimes we arrived at our destination with soaked tennis shoes and soggy pants legs. At first it was just the anguish and then fun of the sport itself before I eventually realized I finally found my calling. My brother, Don, had always been an athlete, and was good at all the high school sports. I was much smaller than him, not athletic at all, and living in his shadow most of my life. It was on the skate floor at Carter's where I found I had a natural talent hiding inside me, and the much-required balance needed to become a master of roller skating. I felt inspired by the 1950 Mickey Rooney film I had seen at the Center Theater on one of my early trips to the 10-cent second-run movie house. “The Fireball” was a film in which Mickey portrayed a roller derby beginner who rose to fame as a skater. Perhaps it was because Mickey Rooney was small like me that the story moved me, I’ll never know for sure. I would tell myself “I’m the fireball” as I circled the roller rink. Unfortunately I shared this secret with Mack Yates, a Boy Scout friend, one night and to my regret he replied, “You’re not a fireball, you're more like a butterball!” He would still call me by that nickname, even today, if we met.

    It was in the music filled, spotlight lit, kid infested arena where I first started noticing girls. Eventually I built up the nerve to ask a girl to skate with me. In the beginning, following normal rink-accepted protocol, I just held a girl’s hand when I first skated with her.  As skills progressed the simple hand holding was replaced with me taking her left hand in mine and me placing my right hand on her curved waist. Once I mastered skating backwards I could face her and place both hands on both hips while she put her hands on my shoulders or neck. The close face to face contact was exciting for a teenager exploring puberty. 

    It was always a thrill when I got there early and waited on bated breath to see if a particular girl would show up, and a thrill of relief to catch the sight of her at the window buying her ticket. That was long before I had the nerve to make a phone call to find out in advance if she was planning on coming. Over time I always seemed to get a crush on some particular girl and my hormones raced at the sight of her. It would take much more nerve and several more years to eventually build up the courage to actually ask a girl for a date.

    I remember a faithful New Year's Eve I spent at Carter's with my crowd of friends including someone for whom I had particular feelings. There was a special New Year's Eve party after the normal skating session that night.  There were hats and noise makers, and I and my best friend at the time were enjoying the merriment.  It was an exceptional night, with a live band instead of the normal 45-rpm records spinning.  As the midnight hour rolled near, we all stopped skating and huddled in a large group in front of the band.  I was standing with my best friend, the girl I liked, her friend, and a whole crowd of other nameless faces.

    I had planned my actions for the moment well in advance.  As the clock struck midnight, I would take my girl in my arms and kiss her, right on the lips. It would be a first.  I had never even had a real date with her, much less mouth-to-mouth contact.  I had just been with her at the skating rink and we skated most of the couple’s skate sessions together.  I knew she felt the same way about me as I did about her, but also was aware she was just as shy as I was.  That night, we would be given the perfect excuse to elevate our relationship.  Anticipation built up inside of me as the countdown to midnight and the new year started.  

    I positioned myself near her. We all counted down from ten, just like on television. Five, four, three, two, one, Happy New Year!  The shouts went out. The noise makers filled our ears. I turned toward her.  I gathered all the nerve I could muster inside me and prepared myself for the big moment.  As the celebration exploded, she made a move. She turned. Then she threw herself into the open arms of my best friend standing beside me.  I stood in silence.  Wait a minute.  "Is this a country and western song?  What's going on?  This isn't really happening.  Things like this only happen in movies, not in real life."  My best friend stood there and kissed my girl.

    The crushing experience left an impact on my young mind.  I felt like a fool, dazed beyond words.  I just stood there, with the two of them together.  I didn't even get a second-place hug.  I was so embarrassed by the event that I didn't stay long enough to see if she would hug me when she finally let go of him.  I didn't really want to know.  I dropped my head and must have looked like Eeyore as I skated off feeling sorry for myself, as the band played "Should auld acquaintance be forgot ...."

 Don't miss the next thrilling chapter of "The Fireball" appearing in this publication next week...!


        Memphis, TN - My creative writing group wanted me to write a little more about my roller skating experiences, so I whipped up my "The Fireball" story to appease them. Most of the stories I have written for the group are too long for one issue of Lee's Traveller, so I have to break them down into two parts and run them for two weeks.

    A special thanks goes out to Patsy Hughes Oldroyd for her report on the Lee Lunch Bunch get together. In the past I have given her a lot of grief about no one letting us know anything about what went on, and this time she sent in her story without me even having to prod her. Another thanks goes to Susan Sims who took some pictures and sent them to accompany the story.

    I had to miss the Lee Lunch Bunch get together because Sue and I were on a great nine-day trip to Scotland and only got back last Friday. We set up base camp in Edinburgh and took tours on the "Wee Red Bus" to several of the major sites in the area, and had a wonderful time. I had canned some stories for Lee's Traveller before we left so I would not have to spend all my vacation time working on the site. This cause a few stories to be a little dated, but the information in them is still news.


From Our Mailbox 


Subject:    Last Issue

Spencer Thompson

LHS '64


    Great job by everyone this week.

Subject:    Craig Bannacke on Miss Faulkner

Jim Ballard

    To quote Craig:

    "...the only B I had in high school was the one my last name started with..."

    Tell Craig he's not the only surname letter "B" that bombed at Lee, but I'd like to add a word or two about "Miss Faulkner"...

    Sue Faulkner was the greatest teacher at Lee in my buk. She fortified and greatly inspired my devotion to The Bard. As a "High Skool" student I was a raging torment for various and sundry reasons; my powers of concentration were severely impaired for reasons that are so banal I need not account. She zeroed in on my psyche better than any other mentor. Had my number from the get-go :

     "Such turmoil", she said. No further discussion necessary.

    But in spite of my ultimately flunking out, we stayed in touch, exchanging letters one summer when I...uh...traveled to Detroit and slaved for my Uncle's construction company. (Or was it a factory ?...Not sure)

    Sue Faulkner's empathic ability knew no limit. She always...always...counseled with impunity...even the wired-up roustabouts and miscreants like me.

    I owe her a great debt to my salvation.

    "We are such stuff as dreams are made on; and our little life is rounded with a sleep."

~The Bard

    Thank you Miss Faulkner.

Subject:    Penny Moore
Polly Gurley Redd
LHS '66

    I loved Penny Moore. I had her first for study hall my sophomore year. It was held the last period of the day in that big room across from band/chorus on the cafeteria wing and Miss Moore would come in with that funny way of walking with purpose that she had and remind us to find a seat and get to work quietly. She would sit up at the desk on the raised dais and grade paper and peer at us over her glasses.
    When I first had her, I read the sign of her name on the front of her desk and came home and told my mother that I had a teacher with the funniest name – “Pen-lope-ee”. My mother just laughed and told me the correct way to pronounce Penny’s name. I to this day think Pen-lope-ee when I think of anyone with that name.
    I had Penny again for senior English and remember several lessons she made us do. One was a whole series on different types of letter writing. The only one that really has stuck was the sympathy note that she insisted should be written in black ink. I also remember a lesson on how to write instructions so they can be followed. The girls wrote about making a peanut butter and jelly sandwich and the boys about tying a neck tie. We were then paired up and worked to try and do the task. I can remember tying a tie while Bob Crump read his instructions and they still rang in my ears as I taught my own sons to tie those neckties.
    I thought I heard at one of the reunions, maybe from Barbara Reinhart DeHaye, that Penny had left the classroom to go take care of her ill father. Maybe caring for an aging parent is the thing that Rainer was seeing when Penny seemed so tired.
    Oh, and I loved Mr. Fox and his chemistry class. I was always sad that he left but didn’t know why. There was a great biology teacher next door and I remember that class also being great fun. I minored in science and ended up teaching that for several of my teaching positions over the years.
    Thanks for the teacher memories. We did have some great ones.

Subject:    Ms. Moore
Curt Lewis
LHS '66

    I have a theory about the adversity that afflicted Ms. Moore (ref. Rainer Klauss’ recent account of their 1968 meeting): it was the Class of 66!

Subject:    Zip Code
Nell Rose Brackett

    FYI - Oakwood Ave.'s zip code was always 35811. Pretty sure that had to be Lee's zip also.

Subject:    Last Week's Issue
John Drummond
LHS '65

    Great issue last week.  It was gratifying to have so many classmates write in about teacher appreciation.

Subject:    Mr. Donnelly
Mike Crowl
LHS '65

   Barbara, you calling your husband Mr. Donnelly Is very humorous to me. I have no idea why you call him Mr. Donnelly, but would love to hear the story behind it if there is one.

     I don't mean to insinuate that it is strange or anything else. The reason why is my wife called me Mr. Crowl for a year or so when we were dating. Now I will explain how this occurred.

    I was in a upper management position with a company and she was an associate of that company.The first time I laid eyes on her I told myself she would be my wife. As time went by I managed to spark some conversation with her and later asked her out on a date. The date started off very awkward. She would keep calling me Mr. Crowl instead of Mike. I was really wanting to get to know her better because I was smitten with her! We continued to date for several months and yes she still continued to call me Mr. Crowl! I would always find myself telling her to call me Mike or Michael. We eventually were an item and finally engaged to each other. I was so elated to be engaged to her, but she was still calling me Mr. Crowl! We both would find humor in her calling me Mr. Crowl as time went by. Even after taking our vows , there were times she called me Mr. Crowl. I can't accurately say when she finally quit calling me Mr Crowl.

    Many years have passed since those days. I have been called many other names by her over the years. Mr. Crowl doesn't sound that bad compared to some of those names!

   LOL , I'm sure I earned most those names which I won't elaborate on. No matter what, she is still my soulmate, best friend,and love of my life!



Join the Mailing List to Receive Notification When New Issue is Available 


 Email Me