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180409 April 9, 2018


Looking Back at 1960
Tommy Towery
LHS '64
(Editor's Note: This is a reprieve of a story earlier published in Lee's Traveller)

    I will not say that 1960 was the best year of my life, but it was certainly a very good year and one that stands out fondly in my memories.  I finished the 8th grade in 1960.  At that time I was still going to Huntsville Junior High, and had no idea that by the year’s end, my world would change in a manner that would shape me into the person I am today.  So, what all was going on in 1960 you ask?

    The top five songs we were listening to were: 1. You Talk Too Much - Joe Jones; 2. Cathy's Clown - The Everly Brothers; 3. The Twist - Chubby Checker; 4. Save The Last Dance For Me - The Drifters; and 5. Running Bear - Johnny Preston.  Also in the top 10 were  Walk, Don't Run by The Ventures  and Stay by Maurice Williams & The Zodiacs. 

    We went to the Lyric or Grand Theater to see Psycho, The Alamo, G.I. Blues, Exodus, Spartacus, The Magnificent Seven, and a favorite of our generation, Where the Boys Are.  On TV we watched Gunsmoke; Wagon Train; Have Gun, Will Travel; The Andy Griffith Show; The Real McCoys; Rawhide; Candid Camera; The Untouchables; 77 Sunset Strip; Perry Mason; Bonanza; and The Flintstones.

    It was in 1960 that we saw headlines in the newspaper about Capt. Gary Powers U-2 Spy Plane Shot Down Over Russia; Khrushchev at U.N. Pounds Shoe In Anger. John F. Kennedy Wins Democratic Nomination and Nixon wins GOP but Kennedy Wins Presidency, and Two White Public Schools in New Orleans Are The First To Integrate. 

    New words that first became popular were anchorman, sit-in, cosmonaut, bluegrass, laser, and compact car. We also saw the first appearances of products such as Astroturf, Librium, felt-tip pen, and Rayon. Pittsburgh beat the NY Yankees in the World Series.  The Superbowl had not been dreamed up yet. And during Scouting's Golden Jubilee Year, thousands of boys earned the 50th Anniversary Achievement Award. Some 56,378 Scouts and leaders attended the Fifth National Jamboree at Colorado Springs, Colo., July 22-28.

    In May, at the end of the 1959-60 school year, I still lived on East Clinton, and as summer approached I found out that my family was moving away from East Clinton Street and all my friends.  We were moving to West Huntsville, and I would have to change schools.  I would attend West Huntsville Junior High in the 9th grade.

    I did not have time to worry about that too much, because I had been looking forward to summer so long because I knew that the summer would lead me on one of the most fantastic adventures that a boy could ever experience.  It was in July of 1960 that I attended the 5th National Jamboree of the Boy Scouts of America.  This was not just a Camporee, but a Jamboree where Scouts from all over the nation merged onto one big campground for an event that only took place every ten years.  It was a two-week bus trip (three bus loads of Scouts from Madison County) and an eye-opening experience for a poor boy from Huntsville like me. I did not have enough money for the trip, but the Kiwanis Club selected me to sponsor and paid my basic expenses.  My family had to come up with the $25 spending money I would need for the trip. We headed out early one morning from the Trailways Bus Station headed west.  We stopped in Memphis for lunch and I still remember that first visit to the city where I now live.  We were given about an hour for lunch while the buses were gassed up, and we wandered about the town.  I remember a magic shop that no longer exists today, but on that hot summer day, was like nothing I had ever seen before.  I also remember that the smell of diesel fuel was the smell that would always remind me of downtown Memphis.

    We ended up at a large ranch near Colorado Springs, Colorado, where we camped for a week and did all those Scout things.  We traded patches, had competitions, and had many campfires.  I wrote earlier that I got to see the Sons of the Pioneers there.  I also got to stand by the road and see and wave to none-other than “I Like Ike”, President Dwight David Eisenhower.  It was quite a privilege to see him.  On the final night’s campfire, I experience my first candle lighting ceremony where the first candle was lit at the front of the assembly and we each lit our candle from someone and then turned and lit the others behind us.  When done, 50,000 flickering flames made up one of the most inspirational moments of my young life.

    I returned to Huntsville and to my new home but dreading the school year that would eventually make me attend the high school that I hated the most in Huntsville, Butler, instead of Huntsville High where all my friends would head after they finished junior high.  Shortly before the start of the school year, I got my reprieve when my family made the second move of the summer, landing us on McCullough Avenue.  This move paved the way for me to start riding the school bus to Lee Junior High. I was unaware on that first day that I would eventually join my 9th grade classmates as the first graduating class of Lee High School. 

    On the first day of class I found that I had Mrs. Parks for my English class, and she was given the task of starting a school newspaper. I had worked on the paper at Huntsville Junior High, and so I quickly volunteered for service on the new paper.  Woody Beck came up with the name “Traveller” for Lee’s horse. I was given the title of Managing Editor, and given the opportunity to learn how to use the Guestetner mimeograph machine.  Early in my days at Lee Junior High, I was asked to give a speech to the Kiwanis Club about my Jamboree experience, which I did without a thought.  I never realized that I should be stage shy, and that speech was the foundation for my speaking abilities and an event that I attribute to leading me to earn a minor in Speech in college.  Mr. Fain was in the audience, and he made an announcement about it during the morning announcements over the P.A. system.

    Early friends at Lee were Barbara Seeley, Pam Grooms, Dianne Hughey, Carolyn McCutcheon, Kenneth Burkette, Sherry Adcox, Vance “Rusty” George, Mack Yates, and Gary Helms.  I remember Jerry Brewer in a class along with Jerry Schultz and Bob Walker (who was still going by Robert then).  I remember a girl named Gloria Matthews, who was a beautiful girl and was very well endowed, and usually wore low cut or open neck tops to bring home the point. I also remember that during that year, Mrs. Parks had us do a play in English Literature, and I was cast opposite of Linda Pell, who in my opinion was one of the most beautiful girls in Huntsville at the time.  The highlight of the acting career was that the script called for me to kiss Linda.

    Yeah, 1960 was a pretty good year.

Last Week's 
Failure to Communicate
Phrase Challenge

   We had two classmates who accepted last week's challenge  of explaining some slang (or common) phrases from our days at Lee.

    Barbara came in second place and Escoe got 10 out of 11 by the judges decisions.

Barb Biggs Knott
Class of ‘66

Not sure but I think I got a couple of them right.

X 1. Coffin Nail – the last straw

X 2. Glass Packs

X 3. A Slug (not the hitting action, or the slippery slimy thing, but the other one that can be held in your hand) - bullet

4. Duck Tail - hair style/cut usually worn by boys

5. Fruit Loop (not the cereal) – crazy person

X 6. Church Key – roller skate key used to tighten your wheels

X 7. Wet Willie

8. Charlie Horse – cramp in your leg

X 9. Indian Burn

10. A Suicide – my favorite drink! Got it all the time at Carter’s. All the sodas they had mixed together.

11.    A Hickey – Yep, something you tried to hide usually found on your neck

Escoe German Beatty
LHS '65

OK Tommy here goes the definitions as I remember…

1. Coffin nail was a cigarette…this proved to be quite an appropriate name.

2. Glass packs were the things you put in the exhaust system or on the carburetor of your car to make it ‘sound bad’.

X 3. Slug… mostly to me known as what crawled out of a snail shell… could also be the part of a bullet dug out of a victim.

(Editor's Note: Before the days of guns in schools, a slug was a round metal disc which would pass for a coin which could be used in a vending machine. The denomination I recall the best was the nickle, which some washers would pass as.)

4, Duck tail was a hair style… the back side resembled the tail end of a duck with hair combed in on each side and then sticking up.

5. Fruit loop was the little cord of fabric sewed under the yoke and on top of the center pleat on the back of an oxford or madras  shirt (these were quite often plucked off the shirt by anyone who wanted to aggravate the wearer or maybe flirt with them)

6. Church key… was a (beer) can opener… came in handy before pop tops on cans.

7. Wet Willie… gross…was what happened when someone stuck their tongue into another someones ear.  I do not know what would encourage this action but drinking and daring had to have been involved.

(Editor's Note: Wet willies where more often (in my memory) just wetting the knuckle of the index finger and sticking it in the victim’s ear.)

8. Charlie horse… unless it is what I call a muscle cramp I have no idea.

9. Indian burn… ouch!  Occurred when someone grabbed ones arm tightly with both hands and proceeded to twist their hands in opposite directions.

10. A suicide… two answers…A head first dive into water with your arms at your sides… my favorite a drink, made with equal parts of coke, orange and grape drinks over ice yumm!

11. Hickey…The result of ‘blood suckers’.  Sometimes called passion marks but more often than not administered just to cause embarrassment to the receiver or bragging rights to the giver.  This is why makeup was invented.

Have a fun day! 

        Memphis, TN -  The weather is really strange this year. Air conditioner one day - heat the next. Although I have never attended The Masters gold event I have really enjoyed watching it this year, since it was too icky to do anything Springlike outside.

    I hope some of you enjoy revisiting some of the stories from past issues. While I was changing over to a new computer I came upon some of these files and I know they were printed so long ago many of you did not get to read them back then.

Lee Lunch Bunch

For the Classes of 64, 65, and ‘66

Date: Thursday, April 26, 2018

Time: 11:00 am

Place: Galen’s Restaurant (formerly Mullin’s)

           Andrew Jackson Way

           Huntsville, AL

    Well, it’s that time again. It has been a long, hard, and cold winter for many of us, and we are ready to get out and enjoy the warm spring days. With that thought in mind, please save the date for our special group to meet, eat, and catch up with each other. Hope to see you there, and please do let me know that you plan to come. I do need to let the restaurant know in advance about how many of our group will plan to be there.

    Thanks and see you soon,

Patsy Hughes Oldroyd ‘65

(256) 232-7583

(256) 431-3396


Ask Dr. John
John Drummond
LHS '65

Q. Dr. John, I’m on 18 1/2 Mgs of warfarin a week but at almost 71 years old I’m plagued by serious arthritis. As you know I can’t take anti inflammatory meds because of the blood thinner. Do you have any suggestions for relief for people like me?

A. Let's limit the discussion to Osteoarthritis (OA) as opposed to Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA); the latter is an auto-immune disease, more common in women than men, diagnosed usually in early adulthood and treated with medications to suppress the immune system from attacking joints, managed by a rheumatologist.  OA is much more common, associated with the aging process, often affecting the weight-bearing joints in hips and knees.   It may have an inflammatory component, which could respond to steroids (cortisone) by injection directly into the joint, or given systemically, e.g. pills such as prednisone or injection in buttock.  However, this is for short-term use only, as we prefer not to have patients on long-term steroids due to side effects such as fluid retention, high blood pressure, gastritis/ulcers, irritability/mood swings, insomnia, etc.  In my practice, I have noted a beneficial response to an injection into buttock of Kenalog 80 mg, an oil-based, long-acting steroid that sustains a low level of cortisone that often gives relief for a month or more.

Hips and knees can also be injected, not just with cortisone, but also with a specific medication called OrthoVisc or Synvisc.   OA is really a degenerative (hate that word applied to our generation) condition, in that there is a cushion of soft cartilage lining the joints and preserving the space between bones.   That cushion thins out as we age, to the point of reaching bone-on-bone.  The OrthoVisc/SynVisc is a lubricant injected into the knee joint (not for hips) once a week for three weeks which may (or may not) grant considerable relief.   Some patients do well for several months, while others may achieve minimal or no benefit at all; it really is a crap shoot.  If on warfarin (Coumadin), the blood thinner, it may need to be stopped for a few days prior to injection, to prevent bleeding into the joint.

Regarding the question of medication for arthritis while on warfarin, there are really only three options:  high-dose Tylenol (not so much as to cause liver toxicity), opioids with Tylenol (risk of addiction) and steroids.  The pain and limited mobility often become so unbearable that the patient needs a joint replacement.  No one really wants an operation, but the most frequent comment from my patients after they have undergone a total knee or total hip replacement is: "If I had known I would feel so much better, with less pain and greater range of motion, I would have done this years ago."

As a historical aside, warfarin was first introduced (and still used today) as rat poison.  The rats eat bait loaded with warfarin, then bleed to death internally.  I am personally on warfarin taken daily, total of 25 mg/week, to prevent a stroke, due to atrial fibrillation that developed two days post-op coronary bypass surgery.  In addition, there is a left knee replacement in my future as well; right now there are days that I would give a lot just for a couple of Advil.  As the late actress Bette Davis once said when she turned 75, having survived a stroke: "Let me tell you, Honey, gettin' old ain't for sissies."