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191118 November 18, 2019


President Kennedy Announcement

Highlights of the Class of '64 School Year
Tommy Towery
LHS '64

    The date was November 22, 1963. It was 56 years ago this week and the members of the Lee High School Class of 1964 were busy in their senior year’s classwork when we were interrupted by an announcement over the school’s public address system by Mr. Hamilton. We were suddenly immersed in the sound of a radio announcing President John F. Kennedy was shot to death in Dallas. I was in geometry class when the announcement of the shooting was made. Every since then we have always had an answer to the question of what we were doing the day Kennedy was shot.

    The members of the class of 1964 were the first alumni to leave the halls of Lee and in doing so we left the other classes behind to go out with their lives without us. So, while the later classes lived through and shared all the events the Class of ‘64 lived through, it was not so in reverse. Therefore, we members of the Class of ‘64 have no idea what happened to those classes after we moved on.

    Most of you readers know I started a journal during my senior year, so I probably remember a lot more things than my fellow classmates because I wrote about them.

    Looking back, there were some very memorable events that happened in the latter part of 1963 and the first half of 1964. I could get on the computer and do a search on 1964 to see what really happened, but to me it would be fairer and more fun to try to recall the events from memory. 

    Besides the assassination of President Kennedy, I also remember a famous boxing match taking place that year. I listened to the historic match between Cassius Clay and Sonny Liston, which was only available to us via AM radio. It was not televised except by a paid leased-line showing but was broadcast live on the radio. Can you imagine having to listen to a boxing match on radio today?

    In our senior year we also witnessed a visit by Governor George C. Wallace, who came to Lee to present a check from the state of Alabama to help sponsor our band for their trip to the Orange Bowl.

    A rare event happened in the automobile industry when Ford released the 1964 ½ Mustang at a time outside the normal fall period when new cars were historically unveiled. I remember going with my group to Penney’s Motors to see it the first day it was released. Even then I felt it would be a classic like the early Thunderbirds and I was right. I had the privilege of owning two Mustangs in my life – both of them were totaled in accidents.

    Do you remember the New Year’s Eve snowfall that shut down all the fun things we had planned that night? I could look up the actual snowfall amount but I don’t want to cheat. I know it was a lot and my planned trip to celebrate New Year’s Eve at Bradley’s Cafeteria with my friends was ruined.

    And how can we forget February 9, 1964, when we all set the dial of our TV to get The Ed Sullivan Show and get the first opportunity to see The Beatles for the first time. Even the males loved seeing John, Paul, George, and Ringo sing “I Want to Hold Your Hand.”

The Beatles

    Finally, for the whole Class of ’64 we arrived at May 30th and we walked up and received our high school diplomas as the First Graduates of Lee High School. It was a moving moment.

    For me personally there were other unforgettable events which I shared alone or with only a few of my closest friends that school year. Here are a few which come to mind.

    “Late December, back in ‘63” I had my last date with my first and only real girlfriend I had known since I started dating. We went to Woody's Drive-In and saw "Lawrence of Arabia' and since the heater in my car did not work we nearly froze to death in the December winter weather while we watched Lawrence ride his camel across the hot desert sands.

    I missed going to Florida with the Hi-Y because I could not afford it and I was too modest to accept a loan to be able to make the trip.

    I went to Memphis for Thanksgiving, riding on a Greyhound bus.

    I made a thousand trips cruising between Jerry’s and Shoney’s on the Parkway.

    I retrieved my roller skates from Carter’s Skateland, knowing I would never be able to use them there any more.

    I went to the Senior Prom with a girl I had never dated before. I was set up with her by Tommy Thompson and Judith Keel and we all double-dated.

    I crashed the Junior Prom by putting on my coat and tie and carrying a camera with no film in it and saying I was there taking pictures for Lee's Traveller.

    My great friend, Dianne Hughey McClure, gave me a watch for graduation – a very expensive (at the time) and cherished gift which I still have in my dresser drawer.

    I told Bob Walker goodbye for the first time, leaving my best friend to finish up his school year by taking English in summer school because he had failed it during the normal year.
    Graduation night, celebrating with some of the best friends I ever knew.

    On June 1, the day after graduation, I moved to Memphis to start college, leaving Huntsville behind and have never lived there a day since that tearful morning.

    So those are the collective and private memories of my senior year. If you are a member of the Class of ’64 and have additional things to add to the list, what are they? I am also asking some of you who were in the later classes to list out some of the memorable events of your Senior Year. Be fair and see what you can remember without using the internet. 


        Memphis, TN - Once again I am seeking some inputs on a couple of things and I hope perhaps some of you can assist me. 

    For your info, on Monday night's Bluff City Law there is a chance I might show up in the scene where the priest is giving his sermon on "The greatest of these is Love." I was sitting on the second row as a "churchgoer" and I may or may not show up. That was my last gig with the series and there is a possibility it will not be renewed.

    This coming Thursday I will be attending the Christmas lighting ceremony at Graceland and was given an invitation to the premier showing of "Christmas At Graceland II" since I may or may not be seen in it. Anyway, it will be fun to attend.

Last Week's Name That Tune


Name That Tune

Max Kull, LHS '67 
Banana Boat Song - Harry Belafonte
I Heard It Through The Grapevine - Marvin Gaye
Cherry Pink and Apple Blossom White - Perez Prado
Blueberry Hill - Fats Domino
Apples, Peaches, Pumpkin Pie - Jay & The Techniques

Jeffrey Fussell, LHS '66  got all the names right but added, "This week we have some very familiar fruit-themed tunes, but I don’t recall or never knew the artist on #3. 

(Editor's Note: The third song was one of my favorites as a kid. It was from the 1955 film "Underwater" and if I had not wanted to be a pilot so bad, I probably would have become a frog man because of this movie."

YouTube Video

Linda Collinsworth Provost, LHS  '66,  Song guesses:

1, Day Oh, Day Light Comes and I Wanna Go Home. (I know this is wrong.  I have the lyrics in my head but I am not certain that I ever knew the name of this song, especially now that I see that the theme this week is fruit.)

2.  I Heard It Through The Grape Vine

3.  Cherry Pink & Apple Blossom White

4.  I Found My Thrill On Blueberry Hill

5.  Apple Peaches Pumpkin Pie

This Week's Name That Tune

Name That Tune


From Our Mailbox 


Subject:    Thanks for the Music Feature

Don Wynn

LHS '67

    I have never thought of myself as a 'music person'.  I don't own a record collection, no tapes, no CDs, no DVDs no mix tapes and very few digital songs.  I don't listen to music when I drive.  I guess I may be tone deaf or more likely, I am just out of touch.

    Having said all of that, it surprises me that I recognize so many of the songs in your weekly feature.  I don't usually remember the names of the songs or the artists but the songs themselves are vivid parts of my memory.  They make me smile and remember time spent with friends just cruising the city in the mid 60s.

    Even though I never enter the contest, I still eagerly listen to the clips.   I also read the answers sent in by everyone.

    Producing that feature takes a lot of effort each week and I really appreciate it.

Subject:    Bob Hartman
Bernadette Vanpelt 
LHS '66

Tommy.... I graduated From Lee in 1966 and my husband Bob Hartman graduated a year or so earlier.. He was murdered in 1996. He served in the Armed Forces served in the National Guard.. please add his name to the list of those who served.

(Editor's Note: I tried to look up Bob in the yearbooks and cannot find which class he belonged to. Can anyone help me with that?)



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