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180709 July 9, 2018

Looking Back
Tommy Towery
LHS '64

    Something happened the other day that reminded me of an incident back in the 9th grade at Lee Junior High. I had a small cut where I could not get a Band-Aid to stay in place so I used some liquid Band-Aid stuff to stop the bleeding. It was the first time I ever used the current stuff, but it reminded me of the day I was cleaning an aquarium at school and cut my finger. It was in Mr. Blackburn’s class and I was using a paper towel to wash the side of the metal rimmed aquarium tanks he had and as I swiped up on the glass my index finger ran across the metal rim and cut a half-moon chunk out of my fingertip. It was like a paper cut on steroids and would not stop bleeding.

    Being the science teacher he was, Mr. Blackburn took out a bottle of something which I do not know the name of and poured it on the open cut. Almost immediately it started drying and quickly stopped the bleeding. The stuff smelled like fingernail polish, and probably was in the same family. Anyway, eventually the cut healed, but today, almost 60 years later I still have the half-moon scar on my fingertip to remind me of that day.

    In the process of recalling that incident, I got to thinking about the classrooms back then and how I spent my entire 9th grade attending classes in the northwest (B) wing of the H (laying on its side) shaped building. Unlike many of you, I only came to Lee Junior High in the ninth grade, having spent the seventh and eighth at Huntsville Junior High. My homeroom teacher was Mrs. Parks and her homeroom class was the typing lab. I remember there being desks in the room in front of the typewriter stations and we would sit in them as she called roll and we listened to the morning’s announcements. I was shocked one morning when Mr. Fain called out my name over the P.A. system and told about the wonderful speech I had given the Kiwanis club on my trip to the Boy Scout National Jamboree in Colorado Springs that year.

    I also was in the same room for English and for typing. Looking back at my report card for that year, I did pretty well in everything I studied, except I almost failed the one class from which I got the most knowledge, and that was my typing class. I remember I spent more time using the typewriters to do my homework than doing the required exercises. I think if I should go back and repeat the class it would result in an “A” today.

    It was in the English class where I was selected by Mrs. Parks for a role in an in-class play where I was supposed to kiss Linda Pell. My acting career was also a failure because I only had the nerve to kiss her on the cheek rather than the lips – a cop-out I have always regretted. Another fond memory of those 9th grade English days was the day Jerry Schultz did a book report on “The Lost World” by Sir Arthur Connon Doyle. I also did a report on the same book, only I actually read it and was shocked when Jerry’s report seemed to be on a different book than the one I had read. It turned out he did his “book” report on the “movie” which had just been released. 

    On the south side of the wing, next door to the east was Mrs. Vernon’s Home Economics class room, then the typing room and then the bookkeeping room before you got to the girl’s rest room. Between the typing room and the bookkeeping room was a small “fishbowl” room (shown as a white space above) which could only be accessed through the adjoining rooms. It had no door to the hallway. I never knew what the original designers planned for the room, but in my later days I had a couple of classes in it and we also used it to print and assemble “Lee’s Traveller.”

    On the north end of the wing was a classroom, Mr. Blackburn’s science lab, the mechanical drawing lab (according to the diagram) and then the Shop class. I do not remember the mechanical drawing room ever being used for that purpose, but maybe it was in the beginning. I never took shop but today wish I had. I think it would have been fun. I also wish I had taken music, art, and drama, but I concentrated on journalism, which today I feel was meant to be.

    Back to Mr. Blackburn’s room. For some reason I remember about once a week we would have a class where we sat and listened to Classical Music on one of the town’s few FM radio stations. I also remember renting and watching a 16mm version of the movie about the Titanic “A Night to Remember.” That was long before the county became fascinated by the latest “Titanic” movie. I also remember a few incidents which would have resulted in a few of us boys being expelled in today's politically correct world. One very pretty girl in our class had a habit of wearing low cut dresses which showed a lot of cleavage (even in the ninth grade.) Several boys came up with a game of trying to throw paper wads down her cleavage. I can neither confirm nor deny I was in the group, but it did not seem to bother her so and she laughed with the crowd. Today I wonder exactly what she thought about the attention she was getting.

    At the end of the south side of the wing was the Boy's Bathroom and just outside the double doors to the outside was the designated smoke hole for the boys. Girls were not allowed to smoke. More often than not the boys used the bathroom itself for their smoking location and the place always smelled like an ashtray.

    Oh yeah…I just remembered. We also had lockers on the side of the hallway in that wing. Some of the guys figured out a hard hit with the palm in a certain spot would bypass the locking mechanism and would open the locker without having to know the combination of the lock. We had to buy our own combination locks for them – I remember that and still remember what they looked like. They were Master padlocks with three number combinations. We often forgot the combination back then as easily as we forget passwords today.
    If not badly mistaken, it was not until the next year when we finally opened the gym and the other (Northeast) wing of the school building. Even with the new addition to the school we still walked the same “half-H” pattern before school and during the morning breaks – around and around between the front of the school and the hall in which the office was located.

        Memphis, TN -  Just wanted to share a few memories of early days with you this week. I am still flopping about trying to find exactly what interested the majority of you and sometimes it is a hard task.

Lee Class of '68
50th Reunion
July 28, 2018

John and Sandy Cates

    We are working with the Lee High '68 50th Class Reunion Committee.  Greg Patterson asked that we send the 50th Class Reunion Invitation and Registration Form to you.  Please send/share the information with your Lee High friends and classmates.  We hope to have a great party and look forward to you/your classmates being there, too.  


From Our Mailbox 


Subject:    Heart Bypasses

Chip Smoak

LHS '66

    John Drummond, you outdid me.  In 2005 I was to have a colonoscopy.  That doctor required me to have a stress test.  The result was a partially blocked artery on the back side of my heart.  The cardiologist wanted to play safe.  He put me on the operating table and did a cardiac cath.  The result of that was two fully blocked arteries and one that was partially blocked.At that point I was asking how soon we could get to the hospital.  He was apparently not too worried about it.  He let me drive from Tyler, TX, to Dallas, TX, and work Friday.  He put me on the operating table on the following Monday and performed five bypasses.



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