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200511 May 11, 2020


Mrs. Witch Versus the Ants
Curt Lewis
LHS '66

    I felt fortunate in the English teachers I was assigned at Lee (grades 7-12) for the most part. They were competent, likable, and did their best to usher unruly and hormonal students kicking and screaming into the world of adult literacy. The lone exception was one Mrs. Witch (not her real name and frequently spelled with a capital “B”) who taught my English class during my Junior year. It wasn’t that she was incompetent or made no effort to teach; she was simply not very likable as previously chronicled in these pages. 

    Our textbook that year was one of the Norton anthologies. My recollection is that it included an excerpt from Dickens’ “Great Expectations” as well as other well-known works. One lesser- known item that interested Mrs. Witch considerably was “Leningen Versus the Ants”, a short story by German author Carl Stephenson. The story describes the battle between Leningen, the owner of a Brazilian rainforest plantation, and a menacing swarm of ants that threaten the plantation and the lives of its occupants. The plot includes high stakes, great risk, and the near-demise of the hero. 

    Mrs. Witch was plainly much-enamored of the hero as she discussed the story in class. Throwing in an occasional disparaging comment about her husband (who she apparently viewed as a real wimp, although my sympathies were with him), she went on to worship the bravery, heroism, and general “manliness” of Leningen, eventually working herself into an obvious state of arousal. I’m thinking at the time “Wait a minute- these are ants we’re talking about, not heavily-armed fighting forces or brilliant but evil villains! Ants are what you trample underfoot if they become annoying, or hose them down with insecticide if it goes beyond that. Why would anyone’s panties get damp over the slaughter of a bunch of ants?” In all fairness, the story was well-written and conveyed both great peril and great heroism. 

    This should have been my “aha” moment, although (being young and inexperienced) it took me quite some time to realize. It only came to me later in life that Mrs. Witch must have needed satisfying sex. She obviously had the talent to be an excellent teacher, but had a persistent and unscratched itch that made her irritable and unpleasant. I truly hope (without much optimism) that she eventually overcame this difficulty and went on to achieve her full potential.

        Memphis, TN - Don Wynn has offered to let you help him with his movie trivia feature. If you have a movie from our high school era (+/-) then you are invited to submit it with your own hints and questions. Keep them simple. We MIGHT use yours if it seems to fit the model we are working with.

    Again, there is no definite word about any plans to cancel the upcoming reunion. It is still too early to make the call. Be assured the committee is committed to doing the right thing to make it fun and safe.

Last Week's Movie of the Week Submitted by Tommy Towery

    This week's Movie Trivia is from one of the five films which were featured in the movie music trivia above. The film featured:

 A Baseball and a Baseball Mitt
A gate and a tunnel
A motorcycle and a barbed wire fence

What was the movie?
Which star rode the motorcycle?
Which star stole the airplane?
Which star was also seen in Our Man Flint?

The Great Escape

Last Week's MOVIE

John Drummond, LHS '65, "Based on a true story, "The Great Escape" is a 1963 film about American and British soldiers plotting to escape a Nazi POW camp by tunneling outside the fence and guard towers.  It is among the best of World War II movies.  Steve McQueen steals a German motorcycle and leads the bad guys on a wild chase (riding the motorcycle himself, not a stuntman) until he  slides into a wood and barbed wire fence and is captured.  For his escape attempt, he is again placed in "The Cooler" where he maintains his sanity by endlessly playing catch with himself, throwing a baseball against the cell wall.  James Garner plays a pilot who steals a German plane and heads toward Austria with his blind buddy, Donald Pleasance.  "Our Man Flint" and "In Like Flint" were spoofs of the James Bond spy genre, starring James Coburn;  pretty cheesy by current film standards.  Co-stars in TGE include Richard Attenborough, Charles Bronson and David McCallum (best known for playing the Russian double agent Ilya Kuriyakin in the TV spy series "The Man from U.N.C.L.E".)"

Escoe Beatty, LHS '65, added, "This is fun! Motorcycle daredevil:  Steve McQueen (the one and only), Airplane thief:  James Garner aka card shark Maverick."

Max Kull , LHS '67, threw in, "Which star stole the airplane? James Garner with the help of Donald Pleasance whose character had gone blind. Which star was also seen in Our Man Flint? James Coburn....and what do you know...he was also in #2 above." (As was Charles Bronson).

Editor's Note: Although based on a true story, the story presented was not really factual. The massive manhunt that the Nazi’s subsequently mobilized proved successful and within two weeks all but 73 of the 76 had been recaptured - two Norwegians and a Dutchman managed to evade capture. The Norwegian pair made it by train to the port at Stettin. There they were smuggled onto a Swedish ship and taken back to the safety of Gothenburg. The Dutchman made it across most of occupied Europe via rail, foot and bike, aided along the way by various resistance movements. He’d eventually end up in Gibraltar and was flown from there to England, where he would rejoin the RAF and go on to fight during Operation Overload. 

As for the recaptured 73 men, 23 of them were sent to other various Nazi prison camps. The other 50 were not so lucky. An enraged Hitler personally ordered their execution, a direct violation of the Geneva Conventions. Whilst the movie depicts the men being killed in a single massacre, the Gestapo actually carried out the Fuhrer’s orders by killing the men singly or in pairs along quiet country lanes and in secluded locations. 

Roger Bushell, the mastermind behind the escape, was one of them. Bushell had managed to travel some 400 miles in under 10 hours but was caught the next day as he waited for a train at Saarbrücken, a town just 20 miles away from the French border. The relative safety of the French Resistance was a stone’s throw away. 

Lindeiner-Wildau was relieved of command and the new camp Kommandant, Oberst Werner Braune, was so appalled with the mass murder of the escapees that he allowed the remaining prisoners to build them a memorial, which still stands today. 

Last Week's SONGS

YouTube Video

Escoe German Beatty, LHS '65
#1. Movie- "Around the World in Eighty Days".(had to cheat because I didn’t think it was the theme song... it wasn’t the title is “Sky Symphony”
#2. Theme song for “The Magnificent Seven”…I watch this one a lot because I have it taped!  Love it!
#3. Theme song from “How The West Was Won”... They just do not have these fabulous lead ins for movies anymore!
#4. Theme song for “The Great Escape”… one of my favorite top ten…also have it taped!  Classic!
#5. The unforgettable theme song for “The Pink Panther”…This tune will be forever etched in my mind!  Clouseau was the most memorable character…How many Clouseau characters have you known in your life?

Max Kull, LHS '67 got them all right and added, "As far as I know, the song titles where the same or "Theme of ..." or "... Theme".  The Pink Panther theme was in more than one movie but PP would have been the first. #2 was an Americanized remake of the *great* Akira Kurasawa "Seven Samurai".  I have both on DVD and one of these days need to watch them back to back - but it will take all day. #3 was shot in Cinerama, the multi-camera curved screen process that didn't stay around long.  It was narrated by Spencer Tracy who was never seen on screen. #4 of course goes with the "Movie of the Week" 

Jeffrey Fussell, LHS "66 got four right

John Drummond, LHS '65, "The first song is from "Around the World in 80 Days", starring David Niven as Phileas Phogg, an English gentleman who bets the members of his London social club that he can traverse the globe in 80 days.  I think the first leg of the journey begins with a hot-air balloon lifting off from the U.K. heading East.  His adventures along the way include picking up a feisty young American woman played by Shirley MacLaine.  Next is "The Magnificent Seven," a classic Western pitting the heroes against a gang of bandits repeatedly robbing a poor Mexican village.  A great trivia question is to name the actors playing all seven good guys:  Yul Brenner, Steve McQueen, Charles Bronson, James Coburn, Robert Culp, Horst Bucholz and (almost nobody gets this one) Brad Dexter.  The villainous bandit leader is played by Eli Wallach. The third song sounds familiar, but I can't place it.  Next is "The Great Escape".  Last is the easiest:  theme from "The Pink Panther," starring Peter Sellers as the bumbling Inspector Clouseau.

This Week's Movie Songs of the Week assisted by Max Kull

This week's list of five songs all come from movies popular around the time we were at Lee (based upon the multiple class years some may have already graduated). See if you can identify the movies by these songs. Remember, this time you need to name the MOVIE and not just the SONG, even though they may be the same. Anything personal you wish to share about any of the movies is highly encourage.

Name That Movie

This Week's Movie of the Week Suggested by Don Wynn
This week's Movie Trivia is also from one of the five films which were featured in the movie music trivia above. The film featured:

The film opens with the title character being killed in a motorcycle accident. 
 It was nominated for ten Oscars ; it won seven, including Best Picture and Best Director
Take no prisoners!

What was the movie?
Who had the staring role?
Name one of the other primary players.
Who's life was the movie based on?
What era did the movie cover?


From Our Mailbox 


Subject:    The Traveller

David Mullins

LHS '64

As always brother i, as I am sure many many of our former classmates, appreciate your ongoing commitment to publishing the Traveler. I always enjoy the updates and eclectic items presented. I have told you many times as have countless others but, THANK YOU TOMMY.

Subject:    The Witch's Mouse

Eddie Jones

LHS '66

I want to let you know how much I enjoyed Curt Lewis’s “The Witch’s Mouse”. It brought back some great memories. My wife insisted that I email it to my daughters so they could enjoy it too. Great times and great memories with good friends. Thank you so much for all you do. Stay well.


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 (
Linda Taylor (’64)
Kathy Harris Jones (’66)


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