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201228 December 28,2020

Robert James Andrews
LHS '65
January 16, 1946 - December 12, 2020.

    Robert James Andrews, 74, of Huntsville, AL, passed-away, Saturday, December 12, 2020.  A private celebration of life memorial will be conducted, by the family at a later date.  Robert was born January 16, 1946 in Huntsville, Alabama to Robert Elvis Andrews and Lois (Shasteen) Andrews.  He graduated from Lee High School in 1965.  Robert served in the US Army in Vietnam from 1970 to 1974.  Robert was employed by the Huntsville Times from 1980 to when he retired in 2008.  Robert was an avid outdoorsman and made many memories of camping, kayaking, canoeing and whitewater rafting.  He also enjoyed photography, gardening and birdwatching.

    Robert is survived by his wife Janice Buckley of Huntsville, AL, son Brandon James Andrews of Harvest, AL and five stepchildren, Edward J. Buckley of Huntsville, AL.   Jeanne and Mark Laymon of Huntsville, AL.  Lisa and Don Clark of Arab, AL.  Four grandchildren Landon Laymon, Adam Clark, Stephen Laymon and Krystion Michael Andrews.

    Robert was preceded in death by his parents, Robert Elvis and Lois and his brother Ricky Andrews.

Folk Music and The Kingston Trio
John Drummond
LHS '65

    While we were students at what was then Lee Junior High, 1959-1962, folk music became popular.  For Christmas I begged my parents for a starter acoustic guitar I found in our 2-inch thick Sears catalogue.  It cost $15.00, which was a lot of money back then.  To my excitement and delight, it appeared under the tree on Christmas morning.  Unable to afford lessons, I taught myself how to play it, acquiring painful blisters on my fingertips before they finally progressed to painless calluses.  My learning to play had a distinct advantage over Tommy, having taken a few piano lessons at a neighbor's home at age 9, followed by playing the trumpet in the Lee Band under Mr. Foley's compassionate guidance.  A basic knowledge of music included the ability to sight-read, so I could learn how to play songs from sheet music.  I never could "play by ear," which is a gift as opposed to a talent. 

    It has been said that the guitar is arguably the easiest instrument to play badly, and the most difficult to play well,  My abilities belonged in the first category, but with group sing-a-longs, six-string expertise was not necessary.  Most folk songs were written as  simple three-chord progressions.  The Kingston Trio's "Tom Dooley" actually has only two chords, G and D7.

    Around 1990, several of us Baby Boomers in Atlanta attended a Kingston Trio concert at an outdoor amphitheater.  They performed a long sequence of their hits from our musical era.  I quietly (or so I thought) sang along to these beloved melodies from the 1960s.  Suddenly the young man sitting directly in front of me turned around and asked: "How do you know all the words?"  My answer:  "Because I grew up with them." 

    The clip of The Kingston Trio performing "Tom Dooley" on "The Ed Sullivan Show" was historically notable for a visual reason as well as a musical one.  Unlike today's rock bands, with  members wearing drastically and often slovenly unrelated attire, the three were dressed identically in short-sleeved striped shirts, dark trousers and dark shoes (probably penny loafers or , if you had enough money, Bass Weejuns).  The feet of two of the trio were adorned with white socks.  That would have been considered extremely dorky from about 1968 until today.  But in our era white socks, with the possible exception of church on Sundays, were an essential part of the daily wardrobe of stylish LHS guys.

    Folk music remains one of my most cherished memories, and I can still call up the lyrics to many of the songs,  And yes, I still have my guitar, though the painless fingertip calluses are temporarily gone from disuse.  The music world was rocked (pardon the pun) in 1963-64, when The Beatles came out with "A Hard Day's Night."  That triggered the long-haired British Invasion.  Sadly for many of us, it marked the beginning of the end for folk music.  Suddenly, I have an uncontrollable urge to hum Peter, Paul and Mary's version of "If I had a Hammer."

If I Had a Hammer

    Happy New Year!  Stay Safe and Stay Sane (the second part is harder).

        Memphis, TN - Thanks to the readers who helped me solve the mystery of why Robert Andrews did not show up in the 1964 Lee graduating class as was originally noted in his obituary. It seems he had moved back to the class of '65 and actually graduated with them instead. Anyway, I changed the obit shown able to reflect the correct class. Since it has been a busy Christmas period, even though we did not go anywhere or have anyone visit us, I am cutting the Traveller a little short this week.

    A big thanks goes out to those of you who informed me of Robert and also to John Drummond for contributing his personal folk music story to share with the rest of his classmates.


From Our Mailbox 


Subject:    Math

Kay Hillis


    I substitute in the schools around my area. I can get a book and understand any subject except math. It makes no sense to me so I find the smartest kid in the class to explain. Half the classes do not have books. Almost everything is on chrome book. The kids do not learn to tell time on a regular clock and they have not been taught Cursive writing . I found this out when I wrote something on the board in cursive. I think we got a better education for dealing with every day life. Merry Christmas and happy New Year!



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