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200817 August 17, 2020

 My Personal Top 10 Important Places While Growing Up in Huntsville
The Countdown From 10 To 1
This Week - Number 10
Tommy Towery
LHS '64

        While trying to think of some interesting stories to share with my Traveller readers I came up with the idea of picking the Top-10 places which I  personally had serious connections with while I was growing up. It took me a while to whittle the list down to only 10, because there are a lot more which could have easily been included in this list. I decided to write about locations and not just events, but who knows, maybe later I will try to come up with the top 10 events in my growing up life. So, my current plan is to feature one place each week in my countdown, starting with Number 10 and working my way up to the Number one spot on my list.

10. Grand News and Gifts 

    Better known to us as “The Grand News Stand,” this establishment stocked material that could carry a Baby Boomer from the cradle to puberty and beyond. Located on Clinton Street, this small shop was a favorite stomping ground especially for the male gender. Run by Mr. Sanders, it was a located east of the Johnson and Mahoney clothing store. The cash register manned by Mr. Sanders was just to the right of the entry door when you walked in and he watched you come and go. There were two levels of the store with the highest level being located at the back of the store only a few steps up. The newsstand had candy and drinks and snacks and a collection of reading materials in center cases and on the walls. The upper section of the store was a favorite of mine because that was where the plastic models of airplanes, cars, ships, and military equipment could be found. Many boys spent their birthday and Christmas money on the models in that store.

    The lower level had our favorite comic books and other types of magazines, including an adult section that was located in the far back left side. These were the days before adult material was placed behind counters or wrapped inside plastic to prevent them from being previewed by curious eyes. More than one pre-puberty male was caught by Mr. Sanders flipping the pages of early copies of Stag or the more famous Playboy magazines. Sometimes sneaky guys would pick up one of the adult oriented magazines and slip it inside another less adult magazine to view the contents of the airbrushed photos of skimpily-clad female forms.

    I remember it was the place where I would buy copies of Cliff Notes, Monarch Notes, and Classics Illustrated Comic Books when I needed a quick way to write a book report. I spent a lot of money buying model rockets to build and remember having models of almost every rocket and missile which were built at Redstone Arsenal. Each month I added to my MAD magazine collection as well. I also remember one time when a professional Yo-Yo expert put on a Yo-Yo demonstration there and afterwards if you purchased a Duncan Yo-Yo he carved things on it for you and carved your name as well. I bought an orange and white Yo-Yo and he carved a horse head on mine and wrote my name as “Tom.” I did not particularly care for it because I had no love of horses and I hated people calling me “Tom” and not “Tommy.” I suppose the last thing I remember vividly was buying bubble gum cards there in both the penny and nickel packs.

    Besides the merchandise, the Grand News Stand offered some other conveniences which were not available everywhere else. I remember Mr. Sanders would always let you use his business phone if you needed to call a friend to meet you there or parents to let them know your downtown visit status. The restroom was always open without having to ask for a key as well. 

    I do not know when the Grand News Stand closed its doors for good, but I do know if was a very important business I frequented when I was growing up in Huntsville.


        Memphis, TN -  First of all I want to thank all of you who expressed concern and offered congratulations for my Five Year Cancer Survivor announcement last week. Several of you confided in me your own cancer experience and since I cannot be sure if those encounters were to be shared with the rest of the group I have elected not to print them. Still, I appreciate all the good wishes received from all of you who responded.

        Also, someone sent me the name of a 1967 classmate who has died and I cannot find the email sent. Although I only dedicate the top of Lee's Traveller to members of 1964-1965-1966 (the sponsors of this newsletter) I still will recognize members of the other classes when I receive them.

My Veteran's Information Quest Continues
Tommy Towery
LHS '64

        Along with continuing to collect the information from my classmates who are veterans, there is one other group I wish to add to this year's annual Veteran's Day tribute. An often neglected group of you are as much concerned with the Veteran status than the actual veterans themselves. Many of you shared in that experience and have previously been overlooked. That group is made up of those of you who had a spouse who was a veteran and hence you were forced to share some of those times. I know for sure the government feels you were, because in my divorce my ex-wife was awarded half of my military retirement pay because she was with me the 20 years I served.

        Therefore, I am adding a form below to collect information of the spouses or ex-spouses of veterans. The veterans do not have to have graduated from Lee High School, but I am only interested in the spouses who did. So, if you were/are married to a veteran, then please fill out the form below so your service can be recognized.

Information for Spouse of Veteran

        And, if you are a veteran and feel your name is not on the list we have shared for the last couple of issues, then please fill out this form.

Veteran Information