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170710 July 10, 2017

Brenda Diane Lay Summerford
LHS '65
Dec. 16, 1946 - July 7, 2017

    I just saw a Facebook post by David Lay reporting the death of his sister, Diane Lay Summerford who passed away after a very long and painful illness. There has not been an announcement posted in the obituaries but when it is printed I will come back and edit this page with the information.

    Our condolences go out to her friends and family on their loss.

        Memphis, TN - Last week's disclosure of the real author of the words written by Mike Crowl on his diploma was never meant to be any more than to inform you readers of who wrote the original passage and which book it was included in. I never thought it would be taken any other way, nor was it intended to depict Mike as plagiarizing the passage or taking credit for being the original author. I thought the idea that a senior would be so moved by the thought of those words that he wanted to remember them was something extremely honorable. I had never read the passage before and Mike had written he might want to make a contest out of who wrote them so I took the time to do the research myself and came up with the answer of Robert Lewis Stevenson. They are dramatic words and even though I never accused Mike of claiming credit, my intent was mistaken to have done so.  Any idea I was being disrespectful or belittling Mike is dead wrong.

Did I Make the Right Decision?
Tommy Towery
LHS '64

    Those of you who only started following me after my high school days may not know it, but when I sat in the classrooms at Lee I wanted to be two things: (1) an astronaut and (2) a poet. I probably don't have to explain why I wanted to become an astronaut, because many of us who grew up in "The Rocket City" set our sights on that goal. From the day the first seven were selected, I was in awe of those space pioneers. Ultimately some health issues contributed to my failure to earn astronaut wings and me having to settle for navigator's wings instead. Still, during my 20 years in the USAF, I managed to log over 5,000 hours of flight time en route to becoming a Master Navigator.

    But the second desired goal is the one I wish to write about today. When I think about the classmates from Lee who knew how to put words together I could never compete with Jim McBride or Eddie Burton. I probably have mentioned my first memory of writing poetry was when I was in the third grade and wrote a poem about flowers and bees, which my teacher praised me for. When I got to the ninth grade at Lee I wrote several parody poems including "I Must Go Down to the Creek Again" in Mrs. Parks English class, which helped me win my position in the launch of our first school newspaper, Lee's Traveller. I continued to write funny poems (at least to me they were) and published them in the newspaper. My goal then was to create enough poems to publish a book of poetry - but I never seemed to get it done.

    These thoughts came back to me last week, when my creative writing group was given the assignment to write a poem titled, “Did I make the right decision?” The catch was, we had to include the following words: landscape; purse; water; judgment; nosy; opera; night; moon; and playboy. One of the crazy things we do in this group is to go around the room and each person contribute a word to be included. Those are the ones given out for this assignment. So after having spent nine days babysitting the five-year-old twins, here is what I came up with.

Did I Make the Right Decision?

Did I make the right decision,
When I chose my lifetime mission?
Or should I have been a Dr. Seuss
And made up creatures like a Warplegoose?

Instead of traveling to Tennessee
Was there a happier world waiting for me?
One with a rainbow moon, floating on high
And the eerie night sound of a Flaxwing Fly.

Instead of college to learn to write
Could I have invented a Tootie-Toot Bike?
Or conjured up a nosy Ignorburp
Or a purple purse for a three-fingered Derp?

Was military service my life’s real calling
Or should I have taken up fanciful drawing?
Or written a kid's opera of fun rhyming music
Featuring a Boofert-horn played by a Green-Winged Whosit?

What if I had decided not to learn to fly
But instead created a Whippyark - with one big yellow eye?
Or drew a landscape picture, filled with orange frog-grass
And a green water-squirting giant Domigass

What if I’d used judgement much more crude?
I could have followed that Hugh Hefner dude?
Lived in the Playboy mansion along with a Playmate girl.
Oh, the thoughts of that idea makes my head just whirl.

     Why not try reading Dr. Seuss to your grand kids for a week and see what it does to your brain? I do not like green eggs and ham.


From Our Mailbox 


Subject:   Grand New Stand Magazines

Rainer Klauss

LHS '64

    The fourth paragraph of my recent “Space Cadet” essay in The Traveller provides a list of the cornucopia of magazines that were available at the Grand News Stand in the 50s and early 60s. There were plenty of choices. Something for every taste—especially (from Ace to Swank, for example)—for men (and curious boys taking a slow detour past those magazines on their way to the plastic models section). 

    And yes, the men’s clothing store, Johnson & Mahony’s, was right next to the Grand News Stand. I seem to remember seeing short advertisements for it before the start of some movies at the Lyric.

    By 1959, Grand News had become my favorite Huntsville store. After I had seen a movie at the Lyric or Grand, or spent time at the library, a stop there at Clinton Street, before the bus ride or walk home, topped off the day.  By the time I was free to roam around downtown by myself, I had “aged-out” of comic books, but Grand News then fed my Mad mania. It offered many other publications, constantly being renewed:  Life, Look, Collier’s, Saturday Evening Post, Reader’s Digest, Time, Newsweek, New Yorker, Sports Illustrated, Good Housekeeping, Ladies’ Home Journal, McCall’s, Redbook, Vogue, Glamour, Mademoiselle, Modern Screen, Silver Screen, Movie Land, True Confessions, True Romance, Teen, Seventeen, Sports Afield, Field and Stream, Scientific American, Popular Mechanics, Popular Science, Mechanix Illustrated, Woodworker, Aircraft Modeler, Hot Rod, Rod & Custom, Road and Track, Motor Trend, Car and Driver, Trains, Ace, Adam, Cavalier, Dude, Eve, Frolic, Gent, Playboy, Real Men, Rogue, Stag, Swank. That’s just a small sample, of course. With redesigns and editorial changes over the years, some of these have continued to flourish.  Others succumbed to cultural and media changes.



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