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170626 June 26, 2017


Writing on My Diploma
Mike Crowl
LHS '65
    Skip Cook mentioned he found his diploma and while packing I found mine too.

    This is what I wrote on the cover the diploma is enclosed in. I had forgot putting these words on the cover.

"To be honest, to be kind, - to earn a little and to spend less, to make upon the whole, a family happier for his presence, to renounce when that shall be necessary and not to be embittered, to keep a few friends, but these without capitulation – above all, on with himself – here is a task for all that man has of fortitude and delicacy."

Did anyone else do something special ?

    (Editor's Note: Mike, et. al. I know you did not have the opportunity to publish an editorial on graduation the way I did as editor of Lee's Traveller. I did not write on the cover of my diploma the way Mike did, but here are my own thoughts as recorded in the last issue of my senior year at Lee, and my final editorial before graduation.)

Tommy Towery

    As we leave the doors of Lee for the last time, it is only natural that we look back into the twelve years that have built up to graduation.  It is also only natural that we remember all the good times and good friends we've had.  The school events, ball games, dances, parties, assemblies, and such, all come back to our memories.  We feel depressed at having to meet the big, wide world now.  This is the one feeling a senior shouldn't have.

    Graduation is the end of our carefree days.  It is the turning point in many of our lives.  Some have to decide between careers or college, others between marriage and careers.  Seniors, we have our whole lives ahead of us, our whole lives! Until this time, we've usually only done what our parents or friends wanted us to do.  Now we have to plan our own lives. We have to trust our own judgment.  Let's make sure we do the right thing.  Let's all try to make the world better by something we do.  Set your own goals and then reach them.

I Corinthians, Chapter 13, verses 11 and 12 could easily apply to seniors:

    "When I was a child, I spoke as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but when I became a man, I put away childish things. For now we see through a glass darkly, but then face to face:  now I know in part; but then shall I know even as I am known."

    Yes, seniors, it is time to put away our childish things.  It is time to go into the world and do our part.  But we know, no matter what, we will always remember our high school days.  It is all right to remember them, but also remember that we can't live in the past.  Look to the future.  That's where our lives lie.

Don't Call Me Robert!
Tommy Towery
LHS '64

    I will continue on the topic of nicknames again this week, with a story about one of your classmates.
    It is more common as folks transverse their teenage years to becoming young adults for nicknames to give way to the more proper names with which they were first christened. “Tommys” become “Tom” or “Thomas,” “Billy” become “William” or just “Bill” and other similar occurrences. Therefore it seemed odd to me that during my junior year at Lee High School my best friend broke the mold on that tradition and reverted from his proper name back to what would be considered by most as a nickname.

    Thus began the saga and drama of my friend who I had called “Robert” since the day I met him in the ninth grade. Out of the blue one day he decided he did not like being called “Robert” anymore and preferred the handle of “Bob.” It was a long and tiresome journey for him, but he stuck with it and eventually he succeeded in his quest I suppose, and from then on at least I called him by that name.

    I seemed to remember the launch of his journey beginning one morning break as we were walking the halls at Lee, as was the most remembered culture of the emerging high school. We passed one other classmate (whose last name I shall not divulge) who was called “Robert” and it seems at that moment my “Robert” decided he no longer wanted to be called by the same name. Apparently there had been several instances where the two were addressed by the other’s last name and he was tired of the mix-up. Later I found there was also a deeper reason, which few probably were aware of. 

    Anyway, from that moment forward, when anyone addressing him as “Robert,” he would reply with either “Don’t call me Robert, my name’s Bob” or just “My name’s Bob.” For the longest I jokingly called him “Don’t call me Robert – my name’s Bob.” But if I heard it once over the next year, I heard it a thousand times – “Don’t call me Robert.”

    Now the other, less understood, reason he wanted to no longer be called “Robert” is because of his middle name. Remember the year was 1962, and the Attorney General was none other than Robert Kennedy, who was not in favor with most Southerners at the time because of his Civil Rights agenda. Well, my “Don’t call me Robert” had none other than the middle name of “Kennedy” so his full name was “Robert Kennedy Walker.” For that reason, one really only a few were aware of, he decided he would fit better in his life (especially in the deep South) to be addressed as just plain “Bob.”

     And so, my friends, thus endeth the tale of how my best friend transformed from “Robert” to “Bob,” a name which he continued to use for the rest of his life.

        Memphis, TN -  Things are finally settling down around the Towery house, with the departure of my daughter Tiffany's family en route back to California. Trying to keep an eye on twin five-year-olds is more than a grandfather who just turned 71 last week can handle. This visit came as an add on to the visit to Iowa and to Omaha, all which started on June 1, so needless to say, Sue and I are ready for some decompression time.

    Thanks to Mike Crowl and to John Drummon for their contributions to this week's issue. John's story is not about a friend from Lee, but it carries a very serious health warning which we all need to heed.

    I'm still getting a few emails bounce back as non-deliverable. This week's includes:

    So, if any of you still want to receive notification of when the paper is ready, please update me with a correct email address.

The Passing of a Friend
(And a Warning for all of Us)
John Drummond
LHS '64

    Any of you who live in Atlanta may have heard that John Horney died suddenly last week.  Word on the street, via the Doctor's Dining Room at Piedmont Hospital, is that it must have been a massive pulmonary embolus (blood clot forming in the leg, breaking loose and then traveling to the lung(s).  He had returned from a long plane flight from Europe the day before he died.  Allegedly, he had undergone a thorough cardiac work-up recently, checked out A-OK, and continued to exercise extensively; probably weighed about the same as he did when he played linebacker at Notre  Dame. He played starting linebacker for Notre Dame in the mid-1960s; I think he was named All-American, but may not have been on the First Team.  When John was a freshman (at that time freshmen could not play for the Varsity) Rocky Bleier was a senior.  As most football fans know, Rocky served in Vietnam, then had a stellar career with the Pittsburgh Steelers at running back, alongside Franco Harris and Terry Bradshaw.  John played on the 1966 team, which won the National Championship, at least according to the AP polls.  Near the end of that season, Notre Dame, undefeated at the time, was losing to Michigan State 10-3, when the Irish scored a TD in the 4th quarter.  Coach Ara Parseghian chose to go for a tie rather than try for the win. kicking the PAT;  final score 10-10.  Notre Dame record:  either 9-0-1 or 10-0-1, with the tie.  Alabama was undefeated.  When the AP named Notre Dame Number One in the final polls, Bear Bryant went ballistic, as did most of the rest of our home state, with the exception of us Auburn fans, who were..........well, let's say not exactly sad. So December 1966 almost became the SECOND time since 1861 (thank you, Mrs. Wikle) that Alabama seceded from the Union.

    John and I shared several mutual patients, even though we practice in different parts of town; yesterday one of them told me: "whenever I went to see Dr. Horney, he always asked me about how you were doing." This simple comment brought tears to my eyes.  Another mutual patient told me just today, again through his own tears, that he had arrived at John's visitation at Christ The King at 6:15 PM (it started at 6:00) to find a line that stretched around the block; he waited almost two hours to offer condolences to wife Alice and family.  He also attended the funeral service, which was filled to an equally packed house.

    When I arrived at Grady in June of 1973, John was a Senior Resident in Medicine, two years ahead of me; my very first two months (July and August) were in the Grady Medical Emergency Clinic, starting on the 12-hour night shift, 7PM-7AM.  From 11PM to 7AM there were only two interns and one Junior Resident; unfortunately for me (and him as well), my co-intern was in a Rotating Ophthalmology Program, which meant he only spent 4 months of the internship year on the Internal Medicine Service, 2 months much later on the inpatient wards, and initially (July and August) 2 months as a brand-new intern in the ER.   He had graduated from medical school at McGill in Canada, and had never before seen a gunshot wound nor a stabbing injury, and was next to useless in the ER during our bustling wee hours of the morning.  I had gone to med school at UAB, and paid my tuition and living expenses by moonlighting nights and weekends at pretty much every hospital ER in B'Ham, and had a great deal more  of hands-on experience than my hapless Canadian colleague.   Grady was then, and probably still is now, essentially run 24/7 by its interns and residents, with faculty looking over shoulders (often at a distance), never really getting their hands dirty or bloody.  Fortunately for me and my intern buddies in 1973-74, every night there was a Senior Resident in Medicine, called "The House Doc" (no relation to the popular TV program of many years later) who was available to be called upon for any problem, no matter how serious or small, at any time of night or day, on the massive (several hundred inpatients, and many more in the ER) Internal Medicine Service.   

    The first time I met John Horney was when we had some sort of crisis in the ER about 4:00 AM; I forget what specific type of meltdown had popped up, but after we paged him, John arrived promptly in his starched white resident's short-sleeved coat (we called them "Barber's Coats")  looking calm, cool and collected, while I was hyperventilating, sweating and tremulous.  After hearing our story of a near-panic acute event for 2-3 minutes, he told us (in 25 words or less) exactly how to handle the situation, then strolled back up to his sleeping room on the 14th floor of Grady.  I thought to myself:  "WOW!  I am NEVER going to be as smart as that guy!"  (turns out, it was an accurate assumption)

    So John Horney was a personal hero to me, and to many others, as a colleague, friend or patient.  

    If there is one lesson to be learned from his passing, it is that prolonged travel by air, train or car increases the risk of a blood clot forming in a leg, which can lead to a pulmonary embolus.  So I urge everyone that if you are not already taking daily aspirin (which decreases the risk of heart attack, stroke, colon cancer and colon polyps), at least take an aspirin before getting on an airplane, or in a train or car for a journey two hours or longer.