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210705 July 5, 2021



Remembering Our Wilsons
Tommy Towery
LHS 64

    A couple of weeks ago I was watching the news on television and I saw a story about a woman who was talking to a man and she told him he was her “Wilson.” I thought that was a strange answer so I waited to hear what she meant by that. She went on to explain that in her life, he was like Wilson the volleyball of Tom Hanks in the movie Cast Away and also like Wilson, the over the fence neighbor of Tim the Toolman in the Home Improvement sitcom on television. Though both were fundamentally different, they shared the common trait of being a good listener and advice giver in times of need.

    In Cast Away Tom Hanks is stranded on an island and is often seen conversing with Wilson (named after the Wilson sporting goods volleyball from which he was created.) Although this Wilson did not actually talk back, he was a great listener and never interrupted. In Home Improvement, Wilson was the neighbor whose face was always hidden by the fence or some other object and we never saw it. That Wilson not only listened but would give sound advice on situations Tim the Toolman faced.


        The idea made me stop and wonder who I would consider my own Wilson in my life, especially back in my high school days. I had lots of friends and people I ran around with, but who was the one person who always lent me an ear when I had things on my mind which I needed to talk about. Like Tom Hank’s Wilson, who would always be there for me to talk to when I needed someone? And who had sound advice to share?

        It would surprise many of you to know it was not my best friend Bob Walker, but instead was another person who played a large part in my life. I first met her in the fourth grade at East Clinton Elementary School, but our friendship did not mature from that meeting. It would be several years later when I once again connected with her at an accidental meeting at my scoutmaster’s house. 

        Dianne Hughey, LHS '64,  and I became friends originally because she was friends with a girl in which I became interested. We all started running around together and doing a lot of things as a group, but Dianne and I built a special non-romantic friendship. Over the years we found we could talk about a lot of things and she became my go-to Wilson when I was having girlfriend problems at first, and later over many other situations in our lives. She was a great listener and had some very sound advice – even though I did not always follow it. But she never tried to steer me wrong and was a moral example of what one needed in a friend.

        As we progressed toward graduation we spent many late nights talking about what the future held and what we needed to do to get our adult lives headed in the right direction. Dianne was a good listener, and I am sure she got as much out of our relationship as I did. Post high school we became distant, but reconnected at our first class reunion. We have stayed close since then, even though we don’t get to see each other very often.

        So, here’s to Dianne – my Wilson. My life would have been different without her.  How about you? Who would you look back upon as your Wilson when you were in High School? Was it a classmate, a teacher, another adult figure? Would you like to share it with your classmates?

The Wilson in My Life



        Memphis, TN - We had a nice cool 4th of July here in Memphis this year and I enjoyed the official fireworks put on locally. Did not particularly care for the ones going off in the neighborhood after midnight or the gunfire that substitutes as fireworks way too often. I hope at least a few of you will participate in my Wilson search and share your own thoughts with the rest of us.

First Aid Medicines I Used

Maura Daniell, LHS '68, "Campho Phenique, and it stings!"

Gracie Barnes Barnette, LHS '65, 'Dr. Tichenor's antiseptic was the go-to in our house! When we moved to Huntsville, in 1960, our pharmacist had to special order it for us, because my parents wouldn't use anything else."

Richard (Ricky) Simmons, LHS '64, "All of them....still use Absorbine Jr and hydrogen peroxide."

Bob Alverson , LHS "65, "We always had Penicillin Ointment. It was used on cuts, scrapes and anything stuck into the skin that couldn't be removed with a needle."

Taylor Wright, LHS '66, "We carried the usual iodine Mercurochrome, however one that my aunt used and applied to me on a visit to her farm when I let the well handle go and took a hit to my forehead was coal oil or kerosene. I was bleeding slightly from the blow and she took a rag and cleaned it with the coal oil and everything was fine."

Cecilia LeVan Watson, LHS '68, "Calamine lotion. Mosquito bites, bee stings and poison ivy. I think I was painted pink a lot in the summers."

Judy (Rubins) Allard, LHS '66, "All but glad when Bactine came on the scene."

Barb Biggs Knott, LHS "66, "Definitely iodine and mercurochrome... both were awful and I hated the reddish stain it left on the cut."