Est. March 31, 2000                40,982 Previous Hits                               June 9, 2003

Editor:Tommy Towery                                              
Class of 1964                           Page Hits This Issue     e-mail
Staff Writers :
        Barbara Wilkerson Donnelly , Joy Rubins Morris, Cherri Polly Massey,
        Paula Spencer Kephart, Rainer Klauss, Bobby Cochran, Collins (CE) Wynn
Staff Photographers:  Fred & Lynn Sanders
Contributers: The Members of Lee High School Classes of 64-65-66
My parents moved my brother Chuck, Class of 67, from Huntsville to Shreveport, Louisiana, where they still owned a house just before I started my senior year.  Mother still owns that house and lives there now.  I renewed friendships that went back to grade school, one of whom you may have heard  a fellow by the name of Terry Bradshaw.

Mother and Dad left Huntsville in early January of 1966 headed for Shreveport.  It was clear when the left the house on Gamma Circle.  It was snowing before they got out of town.  The weather forced them to turn south when they got to Florence.  Somewhere south of Florence the U-haul trailer that they were towing was about to pull them off the side of the mountain.  They stopped out of caution.  A state police car came along and made Mother go to the nearest town.  They eventually ended up in New Orleans.  I did not start to worry about them until they were two days late from when they were supposed to reach Shreveport.  Fortunately, they called just before we became frantic.

I graduated from high school and went to college about 70 miles east of Shreveport in a town called Ruston at a college that was known as Louisiana Polytechnic College, Louisiana Tech for short, and LaTech for really short.  I started in engineering and earned after a year and a half that this curriculum was not my cup of tea.  It was not the engineering courses that got me, it was chemistry.  I just could not get the hang of those chemical equations.  I switched to the School of Business and found much to my surprise that accounting was.  I had taken an aptitude test years before that indicated that this would be the type of career that I would be most likely to pursue.  I thought the test had missed the mark at the time that I got the results.  I thought that I would prefer to work at something out of doors.  Isn't it funny how those things hit the mark more often that not.

Well, I managed to graduate from college on March 2, 1972, having been married for a year and being a father of twin girls, with a son on the way.  My first job after college was as a store manager for the local franchisee of Burger King in New Orleans.  Before you say, "Big deal, why do you need a college education to flip hamburgers?" let me tell you to try it. It takes a full range of management skills and is a wonderful training ground for developing people skills.  That lasted less than two years.  I spent almost six months unemployed, climbing the walls.  My father fought me to keep me from taking jobs at which I could not make a living.  I finally took a job as an accountant for a business that was a closely held family corporation  someone else's family.  It was actually three small family corporations  one sold mobile homes, one financed them, and one sold insurance for them.  That job lasted exactly seven weeks.  After I had been there five weeks I got a telephone call from the Small Business Administration asking me to come to work for them.  I had reservations about quitting a job at which I had worked for only five weeks.  I went home and discussed it with my father whose response was, "What are you waiting for?  Call them back and tell them that you'll take the job."  The hesitation turned out to be fortunate because they increased the salary offer. I know that it looks like a trend of job hopping was starting, but that came to a stop at this point.

I gave my two weeks notice and went to work for the SBA on July 15, 1974.  I expected to work for SBA for about five years and then find something in private industry.  I did not know that I would find my niche, my work home, working for this agency.  I was there in the New Orleans District Office of SBA until February of 1986, when I resigned and went to work for a small bank in Hammond, Louisiana, approximately 65 miles away from New Orleans.  I worked at that bank for fourteen months.  The bank had three different presidents in my first seven months with it.  The third one was introduced to the entire bank one night in September of 1986.  I went home and told my second wife, having divorced the first one in 1982, that I would start looking for another job the next day.  The bank canned me at the end of April, 1987, before I found one.  I returned to SBA in August of 1987.

I had tried to get out of New Orleans for years and was dragged back kicking and screaming to work in New Orleans, continuing to live in Hammond.  In 1990 I was the successful applicant for a position at SBA's Headquarters in Washington, DC, and moved to Maryland and later the eastern panhandle of West Virginia.  After 10 years in HQ I accepted a management position in the Dallas/Fort Worth District Office of SBA, partially because my mother is at an advanced age and is starting to need someone on whom she can call from time to time.  That has not worked out because my wife has the attitude that my mother is butting into our marriage.  Although I work in Fort Worth, I actually live in Tyler, Texas, about a hundred miles east of the office.  We moved there because my wife contracted severe rheumatoid arthritis and needs to be near her doctors.  In addition, she can not stand large towns and heavy traffic.  I commute on weekends.  I am a good customer of some of the cheaper motels in the DFW area.

Who knows where I may be next year?

Things I miss most about Huntsville:

Monte Sano
The Lyric Theatre
The hills and mountains of north Alabama
The pace of life in Huntsville
Boating and water skiing on the Tennessee River
Camping in the area
Big Spring Park
Heart of Dixie Mall
Pizitz Department Store where I went to work the day that I turned 17
Something yet to be determined

The Bag Boy
by Charlie Hancock
Class of '66

I came to Lee during February of 1965 as a junior transferring from Slidell, Louisiana. My dad worked for Boeing. I was in a different school in a different district from 8th grade until I did all of my senior year at Lee.

My job when I attended Lee was working in a neighborhood grocery store.  You remember them... the ones when you walked in and everyone knew you and spoke to you and asked about the family.... the way Five Points Grocery is today. I won't mention the name of the store, but it was a gathering spot for the local neighborhood folks to meet and buy their grocery items and to catch up on the local talk. It was on Oakwood Avenue and  Pulaski Pike. It is not around any more because it burned several years ago. The store had the owner, an elderly man, and two sons that helped run it. It  was in a small "L" shaped shopping center. There was a small diner next door to it, a hardware store and a pizza parlor on the other end of the "L".  A barbershop was on the opposite end. It was just one of those small strip malls containing nearly everything a person might need.

I worked at this small grocery store for several months for a very low rate of pay. My job was to bag groceries, do produce, sweep floors, work in the meat department and even deliver groceries to the elderly customers that could not get to the store. I knew other guys were getting more than my $.75/hr rate. Mike Plunkett (Class of '66) was a checker. He got $1/hr. I wanted that much as a bag boy. The old man said "No", of course. So I quit and went to work for Winn-Dixie for $1.25/hr.

I found out that I had to bust my butt 100% of the time there. As a bag boy, I learned at this BIG chain store that you never, ever get caught up. It just never let up. After several months I asked the owner of the small store for my job back. Then I got $.80/hr. The same as if I'd stayed with Steve Cook, Alan Davis and others of the Class of '66. But it felt like an easy day there on my second time around. We did have our perks working for a small store. The night stock "boy" (a grown man 26 years of age) would let us borrow his driver's license to get beer. You remember them - the kind with no picture but just said that you were "John Doe-born on a certain date" We used his ID several times to get beer.

When lettuce ran low the owner would direct someone to trim head lettuce and get it put out. Back then lettuce was selling at the modest price of $.29 a head and we sold a lot of it! I liked doing that task. It was a way to have a smoke away from customers and I had a young tobacco addiction to feed. But I liked the produce department work too. I wished there was enough work to support a guy in a full time position in produce, but there wasn't. I'm remembering that the owner did not use tobacco but he let his employees smoke anytime. I recall one day I'd carried out a multi-cart order worth over $100 (in 1965 dollars). I finally got out of the heat and back inside with the air-conditioning. I lit a smoke and put the cigarette on a rail about foot level so no one would disturb it. I was getting swamped on an order so the old man came over to help me catch up. He reached down for a big paper grocery sack and burned his index finger in several places from my abandoned cigarette. I sure was embarrassed. He should'a fired me. But he didn't. He was mad but never even mentioned it.

As I said earlier, the diner was right next door and I ate there often. The food was pretty good and priced right for my budget. One day the restaurant owner came over pleading with the grocer to let him have a bag boy to wash dishes. The store was too busy to let anyone go. The restaurant owner asked who I knew that needed a job. I called one buddy that had often TALKED of getting a job but never really looked for any work. He reluctantly agreed over the phone to do it that one time, and if he liked it maybe more. The rate was $.75/hr. He faced a mountain of dishes. He worked about six hours straight getting them all caught up.  My buddy was SO MAD at me. He had 10th degree dishpan hands thanks to me. Somehow we blew his money and mine before going home that night. My buddy never went back to work there and I soon realized he was avoiding me too. Well, it hurt then but I came to realize that some friendships just go that way.

Like I said, my dad worked for Boeing. Right after my graduation from Lee, the family moved back to the Seattle area where we had lived for a few years before we moved to Huntsville. The owner said he'd sign a recommendation for me but there was no typewriter. I dictated an honest letter of recommendation to my dad as he typed it on his old Remington. The old man gladly signed after adding their rubber stamp at the top as a letterhead. He really was sorry to see me go I think.

I worked a couple of more years in grocery stores in produce before leaving for military service as a USN Hospital Corpsman, mostly in USMC infantry units. After my discharge, I worked briefly in produce with a large chain before I moved on. I really wanted weekends off. It was a good way to start. Now I see guys a lot older than us bagging groceries now. Hmmmmm... I think I'm enjoying my retirement too much to have a real job at this point in my life. But I'll keep it in mind!

We Are Fami-LEE!
Hits this issue!
Est. March 31, 2000                40,982 Previous Hits                               June 9, 2003

Editor:Tommy Towery                                              
Class of 1964                           Page Hits This Issue     e-mail
Staff Writers :
        Barbara Wilkerson Donnelly , Joy Rubins Morris, Cherri Polly Massey,
        Paula Spencer Kephart, Rainer Klauss, Bobby Cochran, Collins (CE) Wynn
Staff Photographers:  Fred & Lynn Sanders
Contributers: The Members of Lee High School Classes of 64-65-66
Not much e-mail this week, but I think we still have a good issue.  Next week's issue might be a little early since Sue and I are headed to Lexington, KY  to visit her daughter and son-in-law. I don't think we have any classmates in the Lexington area, so we won't schedule a mini-reunion for there. If it does come out early, I'll put a link to this issue so that those that read the site later in the week won't miss anything.

T. Tommy

How I Ended Up
Tyler, Texas
by Chip Smoak
Class of '66
Pre-Lee Photos -
East Clinton (The Answers)
by Tommy Towery
Class of '64

Number 1 is still a mystery. I do not know who she is or why her picture was torn in half, but perhaps someone will come up with a name this week.

Number 2 is Bob Davis, who graduated from Huntsville High.  Bob was one of my early friends when I moved to East Clinton.  He lived in a house next to Temple B'nai Sholom, the Reform Jewish synagogue. His father was the "Davis" of Larkin-Davis Firestone. Bob was a womanizer in 5th grade at East Clinton Elementary School and I remember that he used to select out the pretty girls during recess and get his "gang" to hold them so he could steal a kiss. Later on, I think they did that voluntarily. He had an older brother Jim and a younger brother Steve. Bob called me about ten years ago when he was in Memphis and we had ribs on Beale Street.  He had read my book and wanted to tell me how much he enjoyed it.  One of his wives was the daughter of the owner of Zesto's I believe.  He lived in middle Tennessee at the time but I have lost contact with him again.

Number 3 is our Class of '64 classmate, Gary Helms (shown below as a senior).

Minister In
Motorcycle Gear
Preaches On 'Biker Sunday'

Area Baptist church welcomes 25 visitors in leather

Published in The Huntsville Times on 06/02/03

Times Staff Writer

Dress codes for Sunday church in the South have changed over the years, but it's still unusual to see a preacher deliver a sermon in leather
motorcycle gear.

Once you got past his attire, the Rev. Sammy Gilbreath (Class of '66)
delivered a typical Baptist sermon Sunday to the faithful at Jackson Way Baptist Church. Gilbreath wasn't the only person in the sanctuary dressed in leather. More than 25 bikers, many dressed in blue jeans and leather vests, parked their motorcycles and joined the coat-and-tie crowd at the church's first Biker Sunday.

Before taking the pulpit, Gilbreath was in the office of the Rev. Garry
Jordan, the church's senior pastor, explaining his work in "intentional
evangelism." Anything people are passionate about - be it gardening,
fishing, hunting, sewing or motorcycle riding - can be used to spread the
gospel, he said. This day it happened to be motorcycling, and Gilbreath
was dressed in black from head to toe - black boots, jeans with black
leather chaps, black belt, black T-shirt, black leather vest, black leather
gloves with studs and with the fingers cut out, and a black leather do-rag.
Gilbreath said he preaches somewhere every Sunday, and about a dozen
times a year he's dressed in the biker's leathers.

What kind of reaction does he get from the congregation?

"This preacher did it right," Gilbreath said of Jordan. "He had me in a few
weeks ago in a three-piece suit. They would be very skeptical if I walked
in the first time dressed like this."

Barbara Wright confirmed Gilbreath's comments after the service. She
said his attire was fine with her, and that she had heard him preach when
he wore the suit.

"I think he certainly stirred up our congregation," Wright said.

Sunday was something of a homecoming for Gilbreath, who lives in
Montgomery and is the director of evangelism for the Alabama Baptist
Convention. He attended Lincoln Elementary School and graduated from
Lee High School. Gilbreath is also the former associate pastor of First
Baptist Church in Huntsville.

Biker Sunday at Jackson Way was arranged by church members Danny
and Jeanne Hill (Jeanne Clutts Hill, Class of '66). Jeanne Hill is the church's organist. The Hills, who own a Harley Davidson, are members of the Christian Motorcyclists Association. The Huntsville chapter of the association is named the Forgiven Riders.

Bruce Bice, president of the local chapter, said the bikers have not had
any problems with church members at churches in Birmingham, Florence, Tuscumbia and other places, though sometimes church-goers will be taken aback when they see people in riding garb coming to church.

"Everywhere we've been for Biker Sunday, we've been welcomed with open arms," Bice said in the parking lot before Sunday's service.

Bice said the group sponsors an annual Run for the Son bike rally with 60 percent of the money raised going to international missions and 40
percent used to minister to motorcyclists.

After the service, many of the Jackson Way Baptist Church members
milled around admiring the expensive motorcycles in the parking lot.
Nearby, the bikers stood in a circle for a blessing of the bikes in which
they prayed for safety while riding.

This Week's Trivia Photo

A Classmate sent in the photo above for your entertainment. Answer these about the photo: Who, What, When, Where, and most important - Why?
For those that don't know, Flora-Bama has been called one of the "Last Great Roadhouses" in America. It's a dive and a bar that sits right on the Florida-Alabama state line on the Gulf Coast...guess where they came up with the name.  Anyway, no one sent any stories in, but if you are ever near there, you need to stop in if for no other reason than to say you've been there. By the Poll results, 58% of you have been.
From Our Mailbox

Subject:      Traveller
Kathy Jones

I am sorry to read of your mother's death.  Not having lost a parent yet, I can't know what you are feeling... especially since you seemed to be very close to your mother.

I want to thank you for your dedication to the Lee site.
I know that even though you may enjoy it, sometimes it has to be a real imposition on your time.  I know I speak for many when I say that we appreciate your effort and enthusiasm.  It is truly a unique site.

Donna Karolewski Stone
Raleigh, NC
Class of '68 

Nice to see this web site and it is now on my favorites. I love the pictures of old places and "haunts" they really bring back lots of memories Thank you

Subject:             Re: Class of '67
Helen Hoit Laird
Class of '67

Hello Tommy,
   Thanks for the invitatation.  It would be interesting to be on the mailing list.  I only attended Lee my senior year and didn't really know many people and I think there were quiet a few like me.  I went on to
Calhoun Jr. College for two years where I met and married a Huntsville High grad and from there we lived in a number of places thanks to the military life he chose.  Our last stop was here in Mobile where he finally retired and started a new career.

Subject:         Comment on Atlanta Mini-Reunion
Jim Bannister
Class of '66

Don't these people ever age? Other than maybe a few extra pounds and some facial hair, they look just like they did in our Lee days. Linda, Sally, and Toni are living proof that some of the most beautiful women in the world attended Lee High school.

Subject: Still enjoying the website
Linda Beal Walker
Class of '66

Tommy,  I haven't emailed anything to you lately regarding the website.  May wasn't a very good month in West Tennessee, but it is finally over and another month is ahead, hopefully without the tornadoes.  I do want to tell you how much I appreciate the pictures of the mini-reunion and the stories from everyone.  Keep up the good work. 
If anyone does know the whereabouts of Ken Martz, it would be interesting to know.   I attended school with Ken from the 6th grade thru the 12th.

Subject:         The Next Poll
Chip Smoak
Class of '66

I think Barbara has given you the subject of the next poll.  It would be interesting to compare the results.

 Okay, Ladies...Have you ever peed in
 a Coke bottle?


Okay Classmates, so that we are not accused of being's the poll (at the request of Chip and Barbara.)