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210419 April 19, 2021


A Bicycle Built for Travel
Tommy Towery
LHS '64
    We had some good feedback on my bicycle story last week so I thought I would add a little more. I realize this is not a high school era story, but it still goes along with the theme we have been visiting. The time period for this part of the story is about half way between graduation from Lee and today or maybe a little earlier.

    You probably know I spent 20 years in the Air Force as a flyer. One of the good things about the units in which I served is that we normally flew to our overseas bases in a unit plane. The particular plane I was flying during this period was a modified Boeing 707 which was retrofitted to perform aerial reconnaissance against potential threat countries. Because we flew the plane to the overseas bases and back again, it was not flying on a commercial jet. There was a lot of room in which we could haul things and that allowed us not only to carry many creature comfort items with us, but to also bring back large items which a normal passenger on a commercial jet could not carry.

    Many antique furniture items were brought back from England; many brass and copper items made their way back from Greece; lots of salmon came home from Alaska, and the planes coming back from Okinawa were usually packed full of electronic devices such as speakers, televisions, and stereo equipment.

    But, as I said, we could also carry a lot of things with us, and one of the things I carried on many trips was a fold-up bicycle. Their was a hinge in the middle which allowed it to fold in half. The pedals could be folded inward. The seat could be lowered and the handle bar folded as well, and it was lightweight. It fit easily into a duffle bag and was loaded into the back of the plane with no problems. On one of the trips headed for Europe we stopped for an extra day at Pease AFB, New Hampshire. We had no duties to perform there, but were just waiting for another unit to show up with some additional cargo for us to haul, so we had the day to ourselves. I had my fold-up bike on that trip and so I went exploring with a couple other crewmembers who had theirs also. The biggest problem was because the bike was foldable, it had small wheels and I had to pump like crazy to get anywhere. We were peddling downtown and came to a bridge which happened to connect New Hampshire to Maine. I had never been to Maine at the time so we peddled across the bridge and I checked that state off of my bucket list of states to visit.

    Primarily I liked to have the bicycle in England. This was before the days of Uber and taxis were still expensive to hire, so I used my bicycle to get around to places which were normally too far to walk to. One of my favorite trips was a five mile peddle up the road to a small crossing at Shippea Hill which housed a train station. I would lock up my bike and take the train to visit scenic parts of England. It would sit there all day and still be where I left it when I returned – which always surprised me. I kept the bike until I got orders to move to the United Kingdom for four years and so I decided to sell it since I was limited to the amount of weight I could take with me.

Bicycle Inputs

    Here are the inputs following last week's bicycle story.

Janet James Holland, LHS '67, "When I think of bicycles, I think of my brother, Lee James, '65. After a Huckleberry Finn summer of building a raft and sailing down the Mississippi to New Orleans, his next adventure was bicycling across Europe. The fun part of his story was recalling his visit with the Muellers. My Dad was assigned 2 homes after the war. The first was Herr Opel's of Opel Cars. He was a staunch Nazi and very, very unkind to Dad's use of his house. So, Lee skipped them and went by the Muellers. As Nuremberg was totally devastated with the bombings, the Mueller's home was outside in a suburb. My Mom joined him while Dad was head of transportation for the trials. The Muellers would come over every day, cutting wood for them, bringing strudel, anything they could to show their appreciation. So, when Lee "stopped by" on his way across Europe, after his visit they loaded up his bike with beer and chocolate. As he rounded their corner, he started giving them away so his trek would be possible."

Jeffrey Fussell, LHS '66, "I got my first bike when I was in the fourth or fifth grade. Rather than the 16" )wheel diameter) trainer bike, my parents opted for a 26" adult model -- a Sears “JC Higgins” midweight. Learning to ride was a challenge for me because my legs were not long enough to reach the pedal when it was between the 5 and 7 o'clock positions. Additionally, when stopped, I could not get both feet on the ground. Girl's bikes with the drop frame gave short legged riders an advantage in that respect -- not an option for boys. We put cards in the spokes as well, but we had to use our duplicate baseball cards for that. Thinking about that is another story."

Cecilia LeVan Watson, LHS '68, "My bike was best friend for a while. My bike and I would leave my house in the morning and we would ride the streets of Northeast Huntsville. One day I was dared to ride down suicide hill.. I thought I was going to die but we made it !!! Oh how I long for the wind in my hair and the breeze on my knees."

Joel Weinbaum, LHS '64, "I peddled a bicycle a lot as a kid, for adventure, basic transportation, and business before moving to Huntsville at age 16 for the start of the '64's 11th grade. I learned to peddle a 24" at about 6 years old. Repeatedly push across the yard until I got the hang of it. Not long afterward I was picked up from the street in our neighborhood by my neighbor, comatose and with a big corner broken from my left incisor. I vaguely remember her blotting blood from my face with a tissue having lipstick blots on it. By the time I entered the 10th grade I had really strong legs from pumping newspapers. During gym tryouts for hurdles, even at my young size I could clear the hi-hurtles. I was too slow with legs trained to pump peddles on a bike, up and down without forward motion. But earlier, just before the 8th grade my bicycle buddy, he had two 26" bikes without fenders something I couldn't do to my own bike, and we would ride over to the slag pits along the river at Sheffield. Great pads, or helmuts, or gloves, just hell bent for leather riding. Then, just before my dinner time(in August) my dad summoned me asking if Bobby and I had played that day. Bobby hadn't shown up for dinner at his house. I answered no, we did ride bikes the day before. Two and a half days later they found his body by dragging the river at the base of the bluff, where his bike had been discovered in the park on top a couple of days before. I saw his body at the boat ramp near where I lived as they returned from the two day search. He was laying on a stretcher face down, a really white skin kid. The blanket covering him had slipped off. He looked asleep. Strangely he was wearing the short style swimsuit of the day, tan in color. Explanation was either a suicide or he had gone into a cave at that location, then going to the water's edge which had a drop off to clean off mud. I had never seen him wearing that swim suit, plus he couldn't swim. Still a puzzle to this day. But on a more positive note, I had been a patrol leader with my scout troop, sponsored by the Episcopal Church in town. We had a storage building out in Village One where everyone was joining up for a weekend campout. The Village had been built to house workers and their families, working at the nearby Nitrate plant built to supply nitrates for WWI. I had responsibility to buy food for the weekend for my patrol group. I wasn't able to go, but I did buy the food. I had no one to drive me the two miles from the Liberty Supermarket out to the meeting place. So I loaded everything I had purchased in my newspaper basket, peddling the distance along a narrow curvy road. Once I got there one of the mothers said i should have called, she would have driven me. She remarked how unsafe the road was. By the time we moved to HSV bicycling was out...until i returned going to UAH...another story about the "green hornet."

Barb Biggs Knott, LHS '66, "The one thing I remember about my bicycle riding years as a kid was the time I was riding in my neighborhood when I was 9. I went to get from the street to the sidewalk to go back home. As my bike went up a small bump at the end of a driveway the front wheel twisted and I lost control. I immediately fell off and hit my elbow on the driveway and broke my arm (elbow). I must have been in shock because I remember walking up the sidewalk (I had left my bike where it lay), telling a neighbor I was ok and finally another neighbor came and saw I really wasn't, picked me up and carried me home. My dad took me to the hospital where my mom was visiting a friend so that was convenient anyway. I ended up having two surgeries and was flat on my back for 17 days. Needed PT for a year and to this day I still can't straighten my right arm completely. So honestly, that's the only bicycle memory that has stuck with me."

Trombone Fever
Curt Lewis
LHS '66

    It was a trying time for the LHS band. Football season, with its attendant football games and  daily field drills to perfect the halftime shows, was long gone. It was now spring and the  weather was pleasant, hormones were raging, and it was time during the last period of the  day’s classes to prepare for the dreaded spring concert. The LHS band, in spite of containing  numerous talented individual musicians (as evidenced by significant representation in the  annual all-state bands), was just mediocre at best in ensemble performances. Every spring we  would practice at great length and to not much avail to prepare our concert repertoire. Minds  would wander, frustration would set in, and a general state of ennui would ensue. 

    Mr. Foley, our band director, was a good and patient man. Whatever he lacked in musical  acumen he more than made up for in kindness, patience, and moral character. It was rumored  that he was one of the highest-paid teachers in the local system because of the large number  of higher education degrees he had accrued which purportedly determined his wage; I never  ascertained whether this was indeed true. Mr. Foley, for all his virtues, was not completely  unflappable and I suspect the general state of unease at this time must have affected him as  well. 

    One fine spring afternoon the band was rehearsing Marche Slave by Tchaikovsky for the  umpteenth time. As we launched into the final refrain, the entire trombone section began to  spontaneously (and frivolously) swing our horns from left to right and back in time with the  music, possibly to relieve our boredom. That was the final straw for Mr. Foley; he waved the  band to a halt and ordered the trombone section to “get out”. We obediently got up, put away  our horns, and left the bandroom. 

    I’m not sure what Mr. Foley thought would come next; most likely that we would go to the  office, turn ourselves in, and throw ourselves at the mercy of Principal Fulton Hamilton. That  didn’t seem attractive; instead, we went to see Ms. Ezell, my Geometry teacher. Ms. “Mama”  Ezell was an excellent teacher and an even better person, and a friend to boot. She had a  “study hall” for the last period of classes, but I don’t recollect any students actually being in it.  We requested and received refuge for the forseeable future and settled down to wait out the  crisis. 

    Something eventually would have to give. Every afternoon we would report to Ms. Ezell’s  “study hall” instead of band practice. We may or may not have studied. Mr. Foley, to his  credit, never did turn us in to school administration. He may or may not have considered the  possibility of performing the spring concert without benefit of a trombone section. Possibly he  regretted his rashness in kicking us out. Whatever the case, he sent one of the band students  to find us after several days of the standoff with the request to meet with him after band  practice. 

    We met with Mr. Foley per his request and issued a feeble apology. Mr. Foley in turn was  


        Memphis, TN - Thanks for all the replies about your personal bicycle stories. I'll give you a week off from requesting inputs. 

    Sue and I have been doing some major Springtime yard work this last week, things I would have never done when I was a student at Lee. Back then my yardwork was cutting grass - that's it. No mulch, no trimming, no paving stones, no trimming limbs. I did grow Four O'Clocks one year and enjoyed growing radishes, but I never ate them I just liked the way they came up.

Virginia Howard Davis-Beck
The Wife of Woody Beck
LHS '65

    My wife, Ginger, died on 20 February from pancreatic cancer. I’ve been debating whether I should send you her obit. Clearly I’ve decided to send you the link but if you think that’s it’s inappropriate then feel no need to explain. Best wishes, Woody

    Virginia Howard Davis-Beck, 72, of Athens died after nearly a year long battle with pancreatic cancer in the early hours of Saturday, February 20, at her home. Her passing was peaceful and in the presence of her sons Lee and Phil Davis and her husband of 37 years, E.M. "Woody" Beck.

    Ms. Davis-Beck, known to all as "Ginger", was born in Albany, Georgia and graduated from Albany High School in 1966. She received a BA in History from Georgia Southwestern University in 1970 and an MA and Specialist degrees in Education from The University of Georgia. Her almost forty year career as an educator included teaching high school History in Americus, GA and English Language Arts and Reading in Madison County, GA.

    Ginger was an active and a long-time member of Covenant Presbyterian Church and participated in every aspect of church service. She was a proud member of The Trashy Book Club of Athens for 35 years, reading and discussing great books each month with a close sisterhood of friends.

    At the core of Ginger's full life was her family: her husband Woody and their life together, her pride in her sons and their spouses and her delight in her five grandchildren. 

    Ginger and Woody took pleasure in traveling to many places in the United States and on his Study Abroad teaching assignments in Italy and France almost every summer over the past twenty years. During these travels and at arts and crafts festivals, antique stores and estate sales, they sought out and collected art, pottery, and other beautiful objects to create their warm, inviting home. Over the last ten years, Ginger turned those experiences into a small business, selling her vintage finds and charming creations at a local marketplace, an experience she enjoyed.

    She is survived by her husband Elwood Beck of Athens, sons Lee Davis (Sarah Botha) of Arlington, VA and Phillip Davis (Emily) of Ft. Orglethorpe, GA, grandchildren Lucy, Natalie, Patrick, Aubrey and Virginia Rose, sisters Eleanor Walton of Americus, GA and Carol Riles of Wesley Chapel, FL, brothers-in-law Michael Beck (Mika) and Steven (Vicky), and many family members and friends who will remember Ginger as a kind and purposeful person who lived her life with grace and integrity.

    Memorial donations should be sent to Covenant Presbyterian Church, 1065 Gaines School Rd, Athens, GA 30605.

William Tell Overture

Glen Campbell's Music
Joel Weinbaum
LHS '64

    In the 1960s, Glen Campbell's brilliant guitar playing was known only by a select few top recording studios and artists.
    Long before Glen became known nationally as an outstanding vocalist, actor and TV personality, he was one of the most in-demand recording studio guitarists in the world. 
    He could have earned a 7-figure annual income as a high-end, asked-for studio guitarist for years on end if that had been all he cared to do.  
Take a look at this video, one you may have never seen before. "Hi Yo, Silver, Away!"
    It doesn’t get much better than this. "The William Tell Overture" by Giaochino Rossini.
    Many of us grew up watching the Lone Ranger and Tonto on black and white television. Years later, many of us watched the Glen Campbell show on TV as well.  
    This video is a clip of a younger Glen Campbell playing the William Tell Overture (with symphony orchestra) and dedicating it to Clayton Moore, who played the Lone Ranger and Jay Silverheels, who played Tonto.  
    You may never have seen Glen play like this before. This is world-class guitar playing and Campbell makes it look easy; note he is playing a 12 string!  The sounds of Glen Campbell on guitar and the symphony orchestra playing Rossini's "William Tell Overture" will take you back to those golden days of yesteryear, when the strains of Rossini's masterpiece coming over the radio meant the Lone Ranger show was about to begin. 


From Our Mailbox 


Subject:  My Reply to Your Previous Story

Bob Pierce

LHS '64


    I did not have a car in high school, could use the family car a 1960 Dodge wagon. My first car a 1955 VW blue convertible, my baby buggy, I bought in 1966. I did have 4 Vespa scooters in high school. My first one, Sallye Gail (first two girl friends, as you can tell my sophistication of females was lacking something) I painted on this scooter. I was 14 years old. My last Vespa, which I still own, a 1964 Vespa Grand Sport. I use to deliver Western Union Telegrams. I delivered many Telegrams to a big busy house which had no power. Folks were playing poker on 4 or 5 tables under the street light out front in the yard. The living room was full of folks dancing. I had to put these telegrams in the hands of the person it was address to. I would be welcomed exuberantly and led upstairs to the addressee. I was in Huntsville's premier black whorehouse delivering money orders to out-of-town workers. The ladies liked to flash me, scaring the hell out of me. My first female naked body experience, it was exciting.



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