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200302 March 2, 2020


Linda Allen Baggett
LHS '65
? - November 28, 2019

     Linda Allen Baggett, 73, passed away November 28, 2019, peacefully at her home in her Florida Room surrounded by her family. Survivors include her husband, Terry E. Baggett, three children, Me'Chelle Odom, Timothy A. Odom Beasley and Kimberly K. Moon (Steve), six grandsons, Micah B. Moore, Joshuah A. Moore, Jonah L. Moore, Noah J. Moore, Mason A. Moon and Hayden W. Moon, sisters, Carol F. Allen and Robin A. Hunter (Mickey). Linda was preceded in death by her parents, James C. "Jim" Allen and Helen Robbins Allen and granddaughter, Hannah Me'Chelle Moore. Memorial Service were Saturday, December 7th at Huffman Baptist Church in Birmingham. Memorials may be made to St. Jude Children's Research Hospitals. Published in The Birmingham News on Dec. 4, 2019.

        Memphis, TN - Still recovering from my Cipro side effects but doing well otherwise. Below is a tale relating my involvement with foreign languages and I would like to know if anyone can share anything about the results of taking a foreign language in high school - either good or bad.
    On another subject, a committee has been established and is now well underway in its efforts to plan this year's reunion for the Classes of '64, '65, and '66. Do not be surprised if you get a call sometime in the future regarding some aspect of the planned reunion.

    I omitted the Name That Tune contest last week and did not get any comment one way or the other on its absence from The Traveller. I thought I might give it one more try this week.

Bonjour! Tu Parle Francais?
Tommy Towery
LHS '64

    At Lee High School, I, like many of my classmates, needed academic credit for a foreign language to better the chances of getting accepted for college. For some reason I selected French as my language of choice. Back then I was sure I would never need to learn Spanish during my lifetime. Ms. Broom was the new French teacher at Lee and the first year French studies were tough with me barely earning a passing grade. I was unaware I needed to take it for two years to get credit, and if I did not take it a second year, I would not be allowed to get to count the one year I barely passed. Hence, I took French again in my second year and once again I barely made a passing grade – but did. Honestly my position as a member of the Class of '64 at one time looked like it might be '65 instead.

    When I enrolled at Memphis State following graduation I once again needed a foreign language to earn my college degree. If I had sought a Bachelors of Arts degree I had to take four semesters (two years), but for a Bachelors of Science degree I only had to study a foreign language for two semesters (one year.) I had considered taking French again thinking I might have a head start having already been exposed to it in high school, but further investigation revealed I would have to begin with the third semester advanced class since I was given credit for the two years I took in high school.

    Knowing my past problems, I elected to study Spanish at college instead of continuing my French language education. 

    Whatever side of the brain I needed to learn a language was failing me horribly. I barely made it through the first semester Spanish course and again barely passed my second semester course, with history repeating itself in a scary way.

    One good thing I did in college was follow my plan to take as many required courses as possible during my freshman year. Since I had just moved to Memphis, and spent my first summer before college working at a boy’s camp, I did not know any girls and was really too shy to meet any. I did not join a fraternity at the time and only knew a handful of people I had met at the summer camp. Therefore, I did not have a single date my first year of college – not one. I relied on rare trips back to Huntsville to fill my dance ticket and dating needs. However, I did accomplish getting my science, language, and English requirements out of the way though by not having a social life at all.

    I also had an external detractor in my Spanish classroom. I sometimes had problems paying attention to the classwork. One row over from me sat a girl who loved (this was the Sixties) wearing mini skirts. It was not just a pretty girl; it was the girl who had just been named Miss Tennessee. Although there were many beautiful girls at Lee, this was my first encounter with royalty. 

    Because French and Spanish are considered Romance languages and have similar roots, often I was confused by the similarities. On tests I wrote as many answers as I knew in Spanish and then went back and wrote the rest I could in French. At the end of the semester I got a test back with a hand-written note from the professor saying “You still need a lot of work on your Spanish, but your French is getting much better.”

    I have always attributed my passing grades in Spanish to my frequent trips to the language lab to listen to tapes. The professor teaching the class had a fondness for his students who took maximum advantage of the lab. It was a room with about 20 reel-to-reel tape recorders in little booths and students would sign-in and check out tapes from a counter and listen to them. He kept a record of how many times his students checked in at the lab and I would go almost every day between classes. I checked out a tape, put it on the tape player, put on my earphones and worked on my other subjects’ homework while the tape spun from one reel to the other. He had no way of knowing what happened in the lab but relied on the sign-in and sign-out times to determine which students did the most studying and I had a great track record.

    My social life did improve the rest of the time I was in college, but I quickly forgot any Spanish I learned and still did not know much about spelling English words.
Moving forward in my life, I encountered a need to know Spanish much sooner than French. My first Air Force assignment was to Del Rio, Texas, a border town just across the Rio Grande River from Ciudad Acuna, Mexico. I was lucky it was a border town and the shops catered to tourists and American dollars so the locals knew English much better than I knew Spanish. Back then it was safe to cross into Mexico and we shopped there quite often. In honesty I don’t think I ever used any Spanish I had learned during any of those shopping trips.

    As for my French, I would not make it to France for another 21 years after I turned in my final French test for Ms. Broom. Again my visit was associated with my time in the Air Force because while I was stationed in England I took my family on a holiday to Paris.

    I was surprised how much of my high school French I still knew and although I could not speak it very well I found I could read it much better. When we went to eat I would try to order in English and the waiter would look at me like I was talking pig Latin and hump his shoulders. Finally I called upon my whole depth of knowledge of my two years of study and would try to order in French. After a short while of making attempts and butchering the language as much as could be done I was shocked at the waiter finally coming back to me in English and taking my order that way. They just seemed to want you to try taking their language.

    Next week I will continue my tale of learning French. Au Revoir!

Save the Date!
September 25 & 26, 2020
LHS Reunion
The Westin at Bridge Street
Huntsville, AL

More Information to Come Later
Reunion Contacts
Ann Wilson Redford (
Niles Prestage (
Sarajane Steigerwald Tarter (

This Week's Name That Tune Group

Name That Tune


From Our Mailbox 


Subject:    7 Days in May

Maura Farrell Daniell

LHS ‘68

Tommy, if you liked 7 Days In May, you might like the movie The Coldest Game, on Netflix or amazon prime. 




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