Lest We Forget
The Classmates of '64-'65-'66
Which We Lost in 2016
Richard Stockton "Ricky" Edmonds II
Oct. 13, 1947 - Apr. 17, 2016
Justin Larry Dickens
? - July 14, 2016
? - June 30, 2016
Linda Scott Kezer
September 5, 1946 - July 24, 2016
Not Yet 16, But
My Most Memorable New Year's Eve -
(By John's request, this New Year's feature is a reprint of a story printed back in 2015)
I don't recall much about turning 16 except sweating through the driving portion of the test to acquire a license, with your basic "Big-Bellied Southern Sheriff" glaring at me from the right front passenger seat. From reading LHS classmate's recollections of becoming 16, the process seems to have been a universal Rite of Passage for all of us. History note: no required seat belts in those days. I think they were mandated in all cars beginning about 1965, give or take a year.
What I DO remember is New Year's Eve, 1962. I had received parental permission to spend the evening with my buddy Randy Roman, sleeping over at his home. One of my parents dropped me off at Randy's house, as neither of us was old enough to drive. I have no recollection of how, when or why it happened, but Randy and I found ourselves cruising around The Parkway in the back seat of a car (I think about a 1960 4-door Dodge Dart) with Pat Hartsell at the wheel and Carol Jean Williams riding shotgun. It was almost a surreal experience: Randy and I simply could not believe we lowly sophomores were cruising around New Year's Eve with two of the coolest girls in our sophomore class at Lee. We made several circuits of Shoney's and other LHS hangouts, with Randy and me trying very hard to resist the temptation to hang out the back windows, point to the front seat, and yell to anyone within earshot: "Hey, look who WE are hanging out with."
Around 11:00, we pulled into a gas station so Randy could call home and ask if we could stay out beyond our pre-appointed curfew; Randy dropped a dime (yes, it only cost a dime) into the glassed-in stand-up phone booth. Fortunately for us, his father picked up the call, and gave us his blessing to stay out later.
Several HUGE differences should be noted between that December 31, 1962 New Year's Eve and that of today's high school youth: 1) no alcohol consumed, 2) no cigarettes smoked, 3) no drug use, (4 no four-letter words or curses/profanity uttered, 5( no attempt at physical/sexual contact and 6( no worries about our safety, being out on the streets of 1962 Huntsville after midnight. The high school students of 2015 would almost certainly dismiss such an evening as boring, but we were very happy just driving around in the company of each other, talking, .laughing, and occasionally singing along to Rock 'N' Roll tunes on WAAY.
If you have never seen the film "American Graffiti," subtitled "Where were you in '62," you should view it before the September reunion. Released in 1973, many then-unknown actors later became major stars in films and/or TV, such as Richard Dreyfuss, Ron Howard, Harrison Ford, Charles Martin Smith, Paul LeMat, Bo Hopkins, Cindy Wiliiams ("Laverne & Shirley"), McKenzie Phillips ("One Day at a Time") and Joe Spano ("Hill Steet Blues" and other shows). Not least, who could forget Wolfman Jack, the DJ playing himself, and Suzanne Somers as the mysterious blonde driving a white''56 T-Bird, with whom Curt (played by Richard Dreyfuss) suddenly becomes inexplicably smitten. This film, perhaps more than any other ever, captures the spirit and relative innocence (compared to today) of what it was like to be a high school student in the early 1960s. Even if you don't want to see the film, buy the CD soundtrack to get yourself in the mood for our 50th reunion. I guarantee, if you do both, you WILL get fired up about the 50th. As I ponder the eerie similarities between the film and our LHS experience, I immediately think of Tommy Towery playing the role of Curt, who (in the final credits, predicting the future careers of the main characters) leaves their small, insular hometown to go off to college and becomes a journalist. I can think of many other classmates who are similar to certain characters portrayed in the film, but decorum (and fear of a libel lawsuit) prevents further disclosure.
But I digress: back to New Year's Eve, 1962. Pat, Carol Jean, Randy and I were still cruising long after Shoney's and everything else along The Parkway had closed down. Finally, around 4:00 A.M. we decided to take it in for the evening. As we drove down Randy's street all was quiet and the homes were dark; except for Randy's house, where ALL the lights indoor and outdoor, were brightly blazing. Still in the back seat, Randy and I exchanged glances that said: "Uh-Oh, this can't be good." After thanking Pat and Carol Jean for a fun evening, he and I walked in the front door, took off our shoes, and tiptoed up the steps, praying that no one in the house would wake up. NO SUCH LUCK! Upon entering the living room at 4:00 A.M. we were shocked to see three people sitting on the sofa facing us: on the far left, Randy's father, head down and intently studying his shoes as if he had never seen them before, on the far right Randy's younger sister sister Sandy, grinning in anticipation of seeing her older brother about to be disemboweled, and in the middle Randy's mother , the outspoken and much-feared Betty Roman, arms crossed across her formidable bosom, her narrowed black eyes cutting like lasers through our suddenly sweaty Madras shirts. Randy and I were literally deer caught in the headlights; neither of of was able to either speak or even move, waiting for the axe to fall. Finally, Mrs. Roman broke the silence by demanding: "What do you think you were doing, staying out all night on New Year's Eve?" Randy cleverly countered with: "But, Mom, I called home and Dad said it would be OK." After several moments of prolonged, tight-lipped fuming, Mom spat out: "Randy Roman, you could call home and tell your father that you and John were going to a whorehouse, and the only thing he would ask is whether you had enough money!"
Mrs. Roman (I think) gradually forgave me for corrupting her only son, but I have never been certain if Randy's dad ever made it out of the Doghouse; I certainly hope he did.
Lastly, through the power of Tommy and Lee's Traveller I have re-connected with Randy and his wife Kathy, who have been living in Jacksonville, but may soon re-locate to Atlanta, where Kristin (one of their three daughters) lives. We went out to dinner recently, for an evening full of laughter and great memories. Such is the magnitude, and the blessing, of growing up as a student at LHS in the early 1960s. None of this would have been possible without Tommy and the weekly newsletter; I hope most of us appreciate his efforts at keeping us in touch.
Memphis, TN - Happy 2017. This is not a normal issue due to the tribute to the classmates we lost in 2016, and perhaps next week we can get back to some of the stories which have been piling up.
I hope you enjoy John Drummond's story. Since this issue is so long,
How many of you remember New Year's Eve, 1963? I know of two major events which many of you should recall, but know many can't, so I will help you. I have decided to add my own high school New Year's Story as a separate page. It comes from my book and I hope you enjoy it as well. Click on the link December 31, 1963 to read it.
I hope you all play nice and stay safe during the new year.
My brother Don (back), my mother, and me and our TV on East Clinton Street.
The Vintage Television
New Year's Eve, 1963
From Our Mailbox
Subject: French Class
I really enjoyed the picture of the French class and your story. BOY where was I in school. There were 27 good looking Lee girls to 7 boys in that picture!
I missed out on some great clubs.I admire all of you for taking a foreign language in high school.It was important for those who were seeking higher education after high school.
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