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171113 November 13, 2017


The Construction of Lee 
by Collins (CE) Wynn
LHS '64

    Originally published in 2003, this article has been lightly edited and some additional information has been added at the end of the narrative.

    I spent my much of my elementary and junior high school years in and around Rison School with my usual band of young ruffians (Walt Thomas, Mike Smith, Mike Chisum, Jimmy and Bobby Durham, Sonny Turner, Terry Preston, Jim McBride and scores of others). The time was a little early for Goose (Jim) Shelton because he lived across the railroad tracks in Lincoln. The period around the 5th, 6th, and early 7th grade was particularly interesting because of the construction of our Lee High School.

    As it was rising out of the red clay of North Alabama, the school was just about the most marvelous playground a group of young boys could imagine.  I do not know the start date of the land clearing and site preparation for the school, but it must have been at least mid 1956 if not earlier.  Mid ‘56 would give about 1½ years for construction because, I think, my class started at Lee Junior High in the middle of our 7th grade year after returning from Christmas break which would have been early January 1958.

    Anyway, we explored every facet of the school while it was being built.  For example, there was a 3½ foot storm drain culvert that began on the edge of the school property just south of the flag pole circle outside the main entrance to the auditorium and ran underneath the entire school.  The culvert branched several times with side tunnels some smaller than the main channel.  The main culvert, after running under the school, eventually surfaced somewhere near the old football practice field on the north side of the school.  All the culverts had grated openings every 40-50 feet to allow the storm water to drain in. 

    The fun was in the game we created using the culverts/tunnels as our playground.  It was a version of “kick the can” but we could use only the culverts.  None of them were large enough to stand in – at 3½ feet we all had to bend over and kind of crab-walk through the maze.  Some of the side culverts were so small we had to crawl.  Today I get claustrophobic just thinking about crawling around there in the dark.  Of course, because of the peer pressure, there was never a chance of not playing the game no matter the terror involved.

    While it was under construction, the auditorium was like the world’s largest monkey bars playground climbing set.  As you would expect, the steel girders were all set first before the other construction started. Somehow, we got a rope attached to the exposed roof girder and used it for a super, death defying, swing.  Truly, it was a nutty thing to do.  We would climb up the frame of the stairs leading to the balcony, then slide out onto the exposed girders, grab the rope, and swing like Tarzan down to the unfinished stage floor.  This was another instance where It was a miracle no one was killed.

    We were there on the school grounds practically every day during the construction running up and down the hallways in the heavy layers of concrete dust while trying to dodge all the construction debris scattered about.  We learned all the good hiding areas well before the school opened – information that served us well for the next 5½ years.


    My brother Tony (LHS ’72) has lived in Nashville for many years and is engaged in food service sales requiring a good bit of individual travel all over North Alabama,most all of Tennessee, and some of Kentucky. As a result, he occasionally comes down to Huntsville on business. 

    Four or five years ago Tony and his wife, Lisa, came down to the Gulf Coast for their annual visit. As he walked in the door he handed me this brick he had mounted in a display case. As you can see from the photo at the top of this story, the brick is said to be from Lee High School – I now have it proudly displayed in my office. 

    It seems he drove by the school one day on a whim just as it was being demolished. He immediately saw all the bricks lying about, stole one for himself along with one for our brother Don and me. I am hoping lifting three bricks won’t carry any heavy prison time. 

    Tony has never been one to ask permission, but he is accomplished at pleading for forgiveness. Actually, it was a nice thing for him to do and I appreciate the gift. However, there is an even chance this is just a story and he bought the bricks somewhere and made the story fit the situation. He once came home from a Braves game with a baseball he said he caught as a foul ball. It was a big deal around our house for a while with the ball being prominently displayed. Many years later he  finally broke down and said, “Ah hell, I bought it”. That’s just the kind of guy he is. 

    Hmmm, can you get a DNA test on a brick? Can you prove masonry paternity?

        Memphis, TN -  I got a request to forward an email on to Lynn Baeder, but I find I do not have his email address. If any of you have it, please contact me so we can get this mail to him.

    With Veteran's Day coming on Saturday and me publishing the Traveller the  way I do, the timing was not right this year to do a special veteran's issue. Since I have had no new input, I invite the new and old readers to enjoy this tribute I did in the past.  Click below to view.

Right Guard?
John Drummond
LHS '65

    Last week we were asked the name of the first aerosol antiperspirant. I think it may have been Right Guard.  It came (and perhaps still does) in a black can with a brown plastic cap, and was marketed only to guys, appealing to our "manly" nature.  I have been a Ban Roll-On devotee for many years. Roll-ons like Secret and others were considered girly.  I don't recall if Old Spice came in aerosol, but it did (and probably still does) have a push-out stick, like Chap-Stick, but the creamy stuff stuck to your T-shirt, unlike a spray.

    The almost-immortal Bob Hope, who lived to be 100, not only entertained troops in Vietnam with the USO during the 1960s, but also toured college campuses, often on a football game weekend.   At an Auburn home game he was on the PA at half-time with his patented one-liners, complete with references to local  places or things with which his audience would identify.   A sample recollection:  "It's really nice to be here at Auburn University today. Actually, while riding up in the crowded elevator, I was mistaken for an Auburn football player.   This guy kept staring at me and saying: "Right Guard, Right Guard."   I put on some after-shave at your local hotel, expecting "Evening in Paris," but it smelled more like "Afternoon in Opelika."

    Another funny memory was just triggered about college days at AU.  A concert series was sponsored at "The Barn," an ancient wooden hangar-shaped building where SEC basketball games were played before 1966, until the Coliseum was built.  It was (no joke) so small that when an opposing player stepped out of bounds to throw the ball back on to the court, students sitting in the front row could actually (and sometimes got away with) reaching out and touching him or pulling the jersey on his back or his butt.  The Barn caught fire and burned during a home football game against LSU, on national TV on Sept 21, 1996, during and was captured live on TV.  What was most interesting was that NO ONE LEFT THE GAME even though the fire was just across the street and flames were visible leaping higher than the stadium.   Clearly, we Auburn fans have our priorities straight, and a few flames are not not going to keep us from an LSU game.

    But I digress:  The Barn sponsored concerts, which cost all of one dollar with your Student ID.  My favorite was Roy Orbison, who performed for about two hours, wearing his trademark black shades, and no part of his body ever moved except for his fingers on the guitar and his lips.  Between songs he remarked: "We had planned on the band showing up on stage surrounded in back by a semi-circle of six Vestal Virgins on Pedestals, but I am sorry to tell you, we looked all over the Auburn campus, and we just could not find...any Pedestals."

And Now...The Rest of the Story

    John is correct about the later stages marketing Right Guard to the sports world, but prior to the 70's, the original advertising was directed to the whole family. The commercial above was from 1965.


    As stated last week, in the early 1960s, Gillette® introduced Right Guard®, the first aerosol antiperspirant. Aerosols became a popular way to dispense antiperspirants, by 1967, half the antiperspirants sold (in the USA) were aerosol sprays, and by the early 1970s, they accounted for 82% of all sales.

    However, in late 1970s two technical issues arose which greatly impacted the popularity of these products:

    1. In 1977 aluminum zirconium complexes were banned by the FDA due to concerns about long term inhalation safety.

    2. The use of chlorofluorocarbon (CFC) got strictly limited by the EPA shortly after, due to growing concerns that it may be involved in the disintegration of the ozone layer.

    Although the cosmetic industry hastily tried to reformulate their products, consumers had lost confidence in aerosol antiperspirants. By 1977, sales of the CFC free versions dropped to only 50% of the market and under 30% in the mid-eighties. Today, some brands still offer antiperspirants in aerosol form, these account for a very small percentage of the total antiperspirant market.

This week's Question...

    One deodorant still around during our days at Lee was unique to the others because of the way it was applied. Instead of rolling on or spraying on, it came in a jar and you put it on with a small cotton-like pad. Do you know which one I am talking about?