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180416 April 16, 2018


Looking Back
Tommy Towery
LHS '64

(Editor's Note: This is taken from my book "When Our Hearts Were Young  (Today - Fifty Years Ago)" a reflection of what happened on this date in 1964 as recorded in my Journal (in italics) and the reflection upon that entry 50 years later.) 

Thursday, April 16, 1964
107th Day - 259 days to follow

    We had an assembly at school today, The Birmingham Southern Baptist choir sang.  Kay voted not to grant the divorce (a mock divorce trial in class) also, but Jerry was for it; it wasn't granted.  Sixth period we discussed a journalism banquet.

    Mullin's, then home after school.  Started watching "Thundering Jets" on T.V. but again I fell asleep.  Woke up at 5:50 P.M.  Went over to Janice's and helped her wash her car.  Ate supper there and left at 8:00 P.M.  Walked over to Mullin's and borrowed Bob's car.  Went out to Baxter's and got my suit out of lay-away - Mother sent me a check for $25 today.  Went through Jerry's then to Mugs Up.  When I left there I went over to Connie's for a few minutes; to Bob's then.  We went out Jerry's and Big Boy's and I got in at 11:00 P.M.

    Tried on my new suit, and the coat of all my other suits - I have six now, that's the most suits I've ever owned at one time.

    Time...11:45 P.M.  Destination...bed.  Reason...sleep.  Go...

    Layaway was the way my family made most of our big purchases when I was growing up. We did not have credit cards and did not borrow money to buy things, nor did we have the capacity to force ourselves to save the money needed so we could pay cash. Instead, we would put things on layaway and pay a little each week until we could pay the purchase price and finally take possession of whatever it was when we made the final payment. The trick to this system was it forced us to make the required payments weekly or lose all the money we previously paid. I only know of one item my mother put in layaway which was never paid off and the down payment forfeited. It was a copy of the painting of an old, gray bearded man praying over a simple loaf of bread entitled “Grace” by Rhoda Nyberg. Mother saw it in a window one day when she was feeling low and it seemed to speak to her. She explained how the man seemed to be thankful for what little he had and here she was with much more than him and failed to see her own blessings. Even though she never got that copy out of layaway, when she moved into her new home in Memphis she found another copy and it hung on her wall as long as she lived there. It seemed to make her appreciate what she had more than what she didn’t have. 

    As mentioned before, my aunt used this system many times when she bought me a larger Christmas present than she had cash to pay for. On this date, I was retrieving a suit to wear to the formal type events associated with high school graduation. These included some dances and of course the final graduation ceremony. I remember back then most suits came with one jacket and two pair of pants, giving a person two outfits for the price of one. 

    The suit purchased would be was worn many times once I entered my college days. Suits were more a part of my wardrobe back then, since during that period of my life I wore them on date nights and not just to church on Sundays. Back then we even dressed in suits to go to football games, even when it was those warm afternoon fall days which seem to linger before the nice cool football weather arrives. Men wore suits and ladies wore church type dresses as we sat in the stadium bleachers and cheered on our teams.   

    Suits are not a big part of my wardrobe today. As the country has moved more toward casual dress for many things, I find my requirements to don a suit and tie are extremely rare. The one time I still always dress in a suit for is a funeral. I just attended a funeral down in rural Mississippi recently and wore my suit as I usually do. Even though this was a rural town, in the past I remember attending such funerals and recall country folks traditionally dressed in their church clothes for funerals; well, either their church clothes or at least clean overalls. This time there were probably 30 adult males at the funeral, and only the funeral director and I wore suits. Other outfits included polo shirts and jeans, one guy had a printed tshirt, and the preacher and a couple of other visitors wore sports coats and ties. 

    I take a sport coat and tie on cruises for the one or two formal nights where more formal dress is recommended, but even the cruise ships have become more casual in their dress requirements. On my first cruise I not only took a coat and tie, I also took my Air Force dress uniform called my “Mess Dress” for the traditional formal dining night. This is the military version of a tuxedo and during my Air Force days I probably had about a dozen times to wear the very expensive outfit during my 20 years of service. 

    Getting back to the concept of layaway purchases, the process disappeared from most stores with the wide availability of credit, allowing the instant gratification of getting what you want first and then paying for it with interest. Only in the last two years have I seen stores once again touting the ease of using a layaway service for Christmas shopping. I believe this is because so many people have had problems paying off their credit accounts. The “new” idea of using layaway to insure you can make big purchases has once again become available.  

        Memphis, TN -  I had the following two emails bounce back as undeliverable: 

    If you recognize them then please let me know better email addresses.

    For the next couple of weeks I will be taking you back on some trips to the past based upon my journal entries for 1964 and the comments from my 50-Year reflection on those entries made in my book, "When Our Hearts Were Young (Today - 50 Years Ago Today)". I hope you enjoy some of these reflections.

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. Request our favorite doctor discuss cataract surgery and the aftermath. I am two months past the event and my vision is so much better in many ways. But I am still waiting for the six-month follow up to add corrective lenses. The Astigmatism was different in each eye and the Ophthalmologist I used just lightly scribbed the right eye for correction for long distance and multiple scribs to the left eye to allow for reading. One discovery the other night looking at my old Suburban which had just been worked on, I discovered that i could see so much better down into the crevices of the engine compartment using a light than I can remember. In fact I let some of the work go to the shop for the lack of seeing the finer detail. Its a “wow” factor, the difference now. But I wear sunglasses outside during the day and “readers(magnifiers)” to read. They sell readers in three packs since you are constantly setting them down where you will remember.

A. A question has come up about cataracts, which I have no doubt many of you have already had repaired, and the rest of us may need repair in the future.  The inside of the globe (eyeball) of the eye is filled with crystal clear fluid, called vitreous fluid.  This allows sharp visual perception entering through the pupil to arrive at the retina, at the back of the globe.   This vitreous fluid can become gelatinous over time, to the point that its consistency is rather like Jell-O left in the refrigerator too long.  Vision becomes blurred, similar to looking through a fogged-up windshield in your car, and is worse at night during the dark.

    Cataract surgery is performed under Monitored Anesthesia Care (MAC) with sedation, not unlike what is given during a colonoscopy, and usually with an infusion of Propofol or Versed, a short-acting anesthetic.  It does NOT require general anesthesia.  The cataract is identified via ultrasound or laser, and removed by the ophthalmologist.  Procedure usually takes less than 10 minutes, and never more than 15 minutes.  A lens implant is virtually always inserted into the globe at the same time.  Patients usually see (pardon the pun) a marked improvement in eyesight by the next day, with more clarity to detail, and often more vivid color perception.  Night vision is improved as well.

    Last week we talked about steroids (cortisone) used for arthritis.  Long-term use of steroids can increase the risk of developing cataracts.  If you are told that cataract surgery is indicated, but you really do not think vision is that bad, it is prudent to get a second opinion.