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200316 March 16, 2020


We've Lived Through This Before
Three Times
Tommy Towery
LHS '64

    I'm not going to make light of the pandemic which we all face today for I know it is serious. I am going to say we have lived through times like this before. In fact, we have survived three flu pandemics already.  I ask you to remember back to 1957 if you can, and wonder if you can remember a thing called "The Asian Flu." I was 11 years old at the time and was not wise enough to understand the severity of what was really happening and the dangers associated with the flu back then. The crazy thing I do remember (and I don't know why) is that I was in a drug store and picked up a greeting card which was printed with the lines, "Confucius say man who catches Asian Flu should have better things to do." I now see how insensitive and politically incorrect such a card would be considered today - but back then I thought the rhyme was funny. The three previous pandemics were (1) 1957-1958 Pandemic (H2N2 virus), (2) 1968 Pandemic (H3N2 virus), and (3) 2009 H1N1 Pandemic (H1N1pdm09 virus).

    I will share with you what the ENCYCLOPÆDIA BRITANNICA has to say about the first pandemic we faced in our lives.
    The Asian flu of 1957, also called Asian flu pandemic of 1957, was an outbreak of influenza that was first identified in February 1957 in East Asia and that subsequently spread to countries worldwide. The 1957 Asian flu was the second major influenza pandemic to occur in the 20th century; it followed the influenza pandemic of 1918–19 (also known as Spanish flu) and preceded the Hong Kong flu pandemic of 1968. The Asian flu outbreak caused an estimated one million to two million deaths worldwide and is generally considered to have been the least severe of the three influenza pandemics of the 20th century.

    The 1957 outbreak was caused by a virus known as influenza A subtype H2N2, or Asian flu virus. Research has indicated that this virus was a reassortant (mixed species) strain, originating from strains of avian influenza and human influenza viruses. After 10 years of evolution, the Asian flu virus disappeared, having been replaced through antigenic shift by a new influenza A subtype, H3N2, which gave rise to the Hong Kong flu pandemic.

    In the first months of the 1957 Asian flu pandemic, the virus spread throughout China and surrounding regions. By midsummer it had reached the United States, where it appears to have initially infected relatively few people. Several months later, however, numerous cases of infection were reported, especially in young children, the elderly, and pregnant women. This upsurge in cases was the result of a second pandemic wave of illness that struck the Northern Hemisphere in November 1957. At that time the pandemic was also already widespread in the United Kingdom. By December a total of some 3,550 deaths had been reported in England and Wales. The second wave was particularly devastating, and by March 1958 an estimated 69,800 deaths had occurred in the United States.

    Similar to the 1968 Hong Kong flu, the Asian flu was associated with variation in susceptibility and course of illness. Whereas some infected individuals experienced only minor symptoms, such as cough and mild fever, others experienced life-threatening complications such as pneumonia. Those persons who were unaffected by the virus were believed to have possessed protective antibodies to other, closely related strains of influenza. The rapid development of a vaccine against the H2N2 virus and the availability of antibiotics to treat secondary infections limited the spread and mortality of the pandemic.

        While I was looking for some information on the Asiatic Flu I came upon one of the most inappropriate song considering the flu was killing people right and left throughout the world. Still there was someone who saw the opportunity to make some money off of the suffering. I do not endorse this song and had to think twice about where or not to even share it with you, but thought perhaps it would show how no one seemed to take the threat seriously back then. Be assured I am taking this as a threat and am trying to follow all the rules to be safe. I hope you are too.

        Memphis, TN - Don Wynn, LHS '67, contacted me offering his idea of featuring some of the movies we saw before we graduated from Lee. He wants to do a little feature on the movies like I have done on the songs and he and I are still working on the best way to share this idea. He has sent in a trivia article where he gives a short scenario of the movie and then asks some questions about the movie. I have added in a little piece to see if you remember where you saw it and who you were with at the time. We will be tweaking it as we figure out the best way of presenting this little trivia piece.

1964 Movie of the Week

    A large group of military and political leaders including the President are seated at a round table in the middle of a cavernous room. Electronic maps and computer screens dominate the walls.  The President has just finished getting a briefing from one of the Generals and has shifted his attention and questions to other people in the room.  Just as he finishes his testimony, the General receives a phone call on one of the official phones on the desk in front of him.  He quietly answers the phone without disturbing the ongoing meeting.

    We can only hear one side of the call.  The General says "Hello …. I told you to never call me here.  Don’t you know where I am?  Baby I can’t talk to you now, my President needs me. Of course, I’d rather be there with you.  Of course, it isn’t only physical. I respect you as a human being ……………. Someday, I’m going to make you My wife.     I’ve got to go now.  Be sure to say your prayers before bed tonight.”

What is the name of this movie?
What actor played the role of the scientist?
Name 3 actors who appeared in this movie.

Movie Trivia 3/16/20

Last Week's Name That Tune Group

Name That Tune

    Linda Collinsworth Provost, LHS '66 , "You little devil. You worried those of us who are enjoying name that tune when it didn't appear a couple of weeks ago.  We thought we might never see it again!  But you're an angel for reviving it!! Thanks. My guesses:

 Angel Baby

Angel In The Morning

Devil Or Angel

Earth Angel

The Angels Listened In

    Jeffrey Fussell, LHS '66 and   Max Kull, LHS '67 got four of the five answers right. Both missed the last song. It was "The Angles Listened In" by The Crests. By the way, did you know The Crests were the first inter racially mixed doo-wop group, originally consisting of three African American members (one female), one Puerto Rican, and one Italian American. Later the group was shortened.

The Angles Listened In

This Week's Name That Tune Group

Name That Tune

 April Lee Lunch Bunch Meeting Reschedules

Patsy Hughes OIdroyd 

LHS ‘65

    We will NOT be having our regular Lee Lunch Bunch next month on the last Thursday of April. I  hope that this virus can be contained soon, that we will not have many more to lose their lives to it, and that a vaccine will be created to treat people so they will not get it. Hopefully, we will be able to see everyone in the fall for the September reunion and then for the fall Lee Lunch Bunch on the last Thursday of October (Oct.29th). Until then, let’s all be safe and practice social distancing. God bless all of you.

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 (


From Our Mailbox 


Subject:    Gray Ladies

Jeffrey Fussell 

LHS '66

    I was talking with my mother recently. She recalled her volunteer service with the Red Cross “Gray Ladies”.  Lee High students of our era may remember them staffing the school clinic.  They wore uniforms that looked like that of a nurse except it was a pinstriped gray in contrast to nurse’s white.

    The clinic was a place for students to go when feeling ill. There was a place where someone could lie down while waiting to recover or to await the arrival of a parent to take them home. Others were known to use the clinic as haven from classes that one would rather not attend. My mother never mentioned individuals but often referred to these regulars as “Clinic Sitters”.  

    I am unclear if the Gray Lady program is still in existence in any form.