Saturday, July 30, 2011

Unsolved Mystery

I want to thank all of you readers who reacted to my "Paratrooper Pin" story Forgive and Forget

Elizabeth School
In an ongoing case reminiscent of the the greatest of the Franklin W. Dixon mysteries, several of my Elizabeth School super sleuths have come forward with clues and speculation as to who the slick master criminal was who stole my paratrooper pin that day in Miss Chalk's first grade class.  But no one remembers his name!

However, a photograph of the alleged thief has surfaced and I must admit that the circumstantial evidence makes one think.



4th Grade Class at Elizabeth School


 The photo has been posted on this site before, It shows the fourth grade (I think) class.  If you look closely at the kid in the top left corner of the picture, I think you'll agree that he does look guilty.  Or, should I say, acts guilty.
He obviously was being groomed for a political future.
Suspected perp (top left)





The only problem with this otherwise logical hypothesis is that I am almost certain that the sticky fingered cat burglar was only at Elizabeth school for one year.  And, as I mentioned, this picture is of either the third or fourth grade class.

However, the case may be cold, but it's still open.........and not seen in the above photo at the top of this page....just to the left of the Elizabeth auditorium, was a grassy knoll ...........Stay tuned.


Happy Ending


Nevertheless, the story had a happy ending this week!

The mail brought a small package from one of our CHS54 classmates.....and inside it was........
a genuine paratrooper pin......just like the one given to little Eddie Myers by that kind WW2 paratrooper.



It wasn't a reproduction.

It was genuine just like the original one, and it was given to me by a real paratrooper!

My inner 6 year old boy is still jumping with joy.

Captain Obie Oakley, Special Forces
Thank you Obie!

  -Ed

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Mailbag

New 1951 Pontiac...work in progress

 Don Nance reports that his son Tommy has almost finished the paint job on the old 1951 Pontiac that his sons are restoring for him.

It looks great!  Won't be long now before his boys will have completed the restoration and Don will be driving it around listening to Kilgo's Korner on the radio and eating greasy french fries from the Town House or the Boar's Head.

....

My article about Daytona Beach got Warren Sparrow thinking about another site famous for Nascar racing; Darlington!

Nascar Fans
Boogity, Boogity

 By Warren Sparrow


I went to the Darlington 500 on Labor Day 1954. It was the first time I saw water being "sold." Nobody paid for water, thought I. Water was a gift from heaven. Not that hot September day, I learned.


What I remember of that day may be wrong. I remember it was hot. There was no shade in the infield where I spent the day. The noise was more than I had ever heard. The cars were true stock cars, cars you could buy from the dealers. They had a few decals but nothing like those on today's cars. I could not tell who was winning. What I did notice was the rookie driver in the Cadillac Coup de Ville. It looked like he was going faster than anyone. Unfortunately, he had to stop to change tires more frequently than anyone else. He did not win.


Herb Thomas (left) 
The winner was Herb Thomas in a Hudson Hornet. Curtis Turner was second in an Olds Rocket 88, I think.


Perhaps a good time was had by all, especially the women who passed out in the infield. So, there were two things I saw for the first time on Labor Day 1954: (1)Folks buying water and (2) Women flat on their backs, unable to cope with the heat and the boredom of a 500-mile race where no one knew who was leading.


Hudson Hornet
I have not returned to a super speedway race in the ensuing 57 years. Gone are the Hudson Hornets. Gone are the cars folks could buy. The cookie-cutter NASCAR-approved machines do not interest me. It is all about safety, I am told. I wonder. One thing has remained: Folks who go to these races are nuts. Today's fans are no smarter than the ones I saw passed out in the Darlington infield in September 1954. The cars are still turning left. Round and round they go, burning up great gobs of money in cars that look the same.


Oh, how I long for those show-room cars adorned with simply a number on the door.... "Boogity, boogity," my (foot).


Junior Johnson 1954


By the way, Junior Johnson was driving the Cadillac in 1954. It was his rookie season.


-WS




....

Pastor Joe Helms
I'm sure by now you've seen the video of  the pre-race prayer at the Nascar Nationwide series race in Nashville TN July 23, 2011.

If not, here it is.

Paster Joe Helms's prayer

(WARNING: This is not the kind of prayer most of us are used to and is considered in bad taste by many, so you may want to skip this.)

PS.....Boogity., boogity, boogity is term used by Darral Waltrip, NASCAR announcer, at the beginning of each race to tell the drivers to get a move on...
"Boogity, boogity, boogity boys! Let's go racing'"


The term itself is an onomatopoetic expression of running or other hurried activity, characteristic of traditional African and African American narration.  -Ed  

(Aren't the internet and I smart!)

Friday, July 22, 2011

"What it was, was......".

....the summer of 1955.


It was late July of that year, when some family friends invited me to vacation with them in Florida.


One week is not nearly enough time to even touch the surface of the many unique and amazing features of the land the Spanish conquistador Ponce de Leon named La Florida (land of the flowers). It was the first part of what is now the continental United States to be visited by Europeans. That happened in April of 1513.

Daytona Beach 1957

Seeing that wonderful state for the first time caused this 19 year old boy's eyes to become about as wide as the famous Daytona beach.....with cars driving on it!

Andy Griffith 1955




But what sticks in my mind most about that trip were the sights I saw there that only a relatively few other people ever saw.

And I didn't even know what I had seen.....until years later.

 
It was a Hillbilly show we attended one night that featured several musicians such as Ferlin Husky, Tommy Collins, and somebody named Glenn Reeves and a couple of others. Its main attraction was a little known country bumpkin-type comedian named Andy Griffith, whose only claim to fame at that time was a record called, “What it was, was football.”

Griffith's Broadway hit, No Time for Sergeants was still one year away. His movie, A Face in the Crowd was two years away, and the TV show Mayberry wouldn't even be thought of for another five years.

So, realistically, Griffith was pretty much of a “little known” headlining a show of “unknowns.”

But it was an entertaining evening. Andy did reasonably well in the role of a “loveable, dumb hillbilly.” But he was no “Gomer Pyle.(Gomer wouldn't be either....for another 7 years).

The local newspaper's review of the show was luke warm. In fact, it suggested that the show wasn't very good, in spite of the fact that the audience loved it because, “fans come out for these shows simply because they love hillbilly music.”

However, the writer did acknowledge that "Ferlin Huskey was real sharp singing that ditty about living fast, loving hard, dying young and leaving a beautiful memory, and added that the performer who stole the show was an unknown 20 year old kid wearing an orange suit who he called "... not much more than a hootchy-cootchy dancer. “

A year later, that same kid would appear on the Ed Sullivan TV show and, in the words of New York columnist, David Hinckley, would “toss a cherry bomb through America's living room window.”

I was there in 1955, when, as Hinckley wrote, “the fuse was lit and burning.”

Rest in peace, Elvis.        

-Ed




Elvis in Florida 1955

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Frank Busby Passes

Published in Charlotte Observer on July 18, 2011

Frank Busby, Jr
Mr. Busby, 75, of Matthews, passed away on July 15, 2011 at Presbyterian Hospital. A native Charlottean, Frank was born on December 23, 1935 to the late Frank and Elizabeth (McAllister) Busby. Drafted in 1957, Mr. Busby served with the US Army during the Post-Korean War Era. Prior to retiring in 2000, Frank worked as a self-employed Blacksmith and Farrier. He had been a member of the American Farrier's Association and the American Dove Association.

In addition to his parents, Mr. Busby was preceded in death by his sister, Sharon Busby.
Frank is survived by his 2 sons Mark (Luci) Busby of Indian Trail, and Michael (Allison) Busby of Pageland; brothers Reggie and Jerry Busby and sister Marceil Mauney, all of Charlotte; grandchildren Taylor, Brendan, Landen and Elizabeth; former wife Kay Busby.

A graveside service will be held on Tuesday, July 19, 2011, 11:30 a.m. at the Evergreen City Cemetery. Online condolences can be given at www.carolinafuneral.com. Carolina Funeral Service & Cremation Center is entrusted with the arrangements.


Perhaps the family could be reached at Frank's home contact information:
Family of Frank Busby
240 Springhill Dr.
Matthews, NC 28105

***

Friday, July 15, 2011

Mailbag

Reminder:

Always check your "junk mail" and "spam" files before you delete them.  Those email "filters" are mindless, and even though they do a pretty good job separating the wheat from the chaff, once in a while you'll find important emails have been dumped into the "junk" bin.

That's happened to me on several occasions.  For example, here are two I saved from eternal destruction just this week:

FROM HERB JACOBOWITZ  in Maryland:


Barbara and I are staying cool.  We are in Oregon for 9 days.  We went to Crater Lake, where only part of the road is open.  Part is closed due to snow.  The part that is OPEN has 15 foot snowbanks. Barbara and I still hope to eventually make it to LDL some day.  Barbara is retiring on Oct. 3rd.
Herb

And this one from OBIE OAKLEY:

Ed,
  Was sorry to read of Cal's (Reneau) passing.  Here is a little military human interest story the class might appreciate.
  As the obituary reported, Cal did two tours as a Marine infantryman.  He was often in the thick of things and during one such situation his unit was being attacked on all side by the North Vietnamese.  Things were not looking good when they called for air strikes by Marine close air support.  The jets responded, did their job and the North Vietnamese were repulsed.
  It was not until later that Cal learned that the leader of the Marine air attack was his high school classmate, Pat Faulkner.
  True story! 
   
Thanks Obie, that is a great story!

I sure am glad I saved it from the "spam" file.

Incidentally, speaking of "separating the wheat from the chaff" That is a Bible quote that has been used so often that it is now considered nothing more than a cliche. But how many people know exactly what chaff is?

I didn't.


Wheat Chaff
Chaff (play /ˈɑːf/[1] or /ˈæf/) is the dry, scaly protective casings of the seeds of cereal grain, or similar fine, dry, scaly plant material such as scaly parts of flowers, or finely chopped straw. Chaff is inedible for humans, but livestock can eat it and in agriculture it is used as livestock fodder, or is a waste material ploughed into the soil or burnt.


When I was a boy, we didn't have a washing machine or a dryer, so Mom would hang our clothes and sheets on the clothesline in the back yard to dry.  Often, she would call my sister and me from her work and tell us that it looked like a storm was coming up....so we would need to bring in the sheets.

For years I thought the name of that song we sang at St. John's church almost every Sunday was "Bringing in the Sheets."   -Ed

Sheaf



A sheaf is one of the large bundles in which cereal plants are bound after reaping. (Plural is sheaves)

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

LDL 33 Report

By Jerry Gaudet

Summertime is taking a toll on our lunch participation.

We were warned as the newspaper carried a “Heat Advisory” in effect for today because of an expected high temperature of 99, which would be bad enough, but the heat index – the combined impact of air temperature and humidity – will climb to between 105 to 110.




Kind of makes an Air Conditioned restaurant like Jimmies sound good, huh?




Gail Barrier Austin enjoys cool desert
Gail Barrier Austin had her own idea of how to “beat the heat”....



In spite of the heat, enough showed up to enjoy good company and good food.



We Pledged Allegiance…






We gave thanks…








Tom Harvey  Honorary Classmate





We celebrated Clay Eubanks' friend, Tom Harvey, who has located ten of our “lost classmates” for us, earning him the title of “Honorary Classmate”. “WE VOTED IT SO”.



And we behaved as good citizens are expected and supposed to do…and still had a very pleasant luncheon.

We have plenty of room for additional classmates and guests. Come give it a try. "LDL" is always on the second Tuesday of each and every month...the next "LDL" being Tuesday, August 9, 11:30 at JIMMIES.


***End of “LDL” #33 report***

Monday, July 11, 2011

Forgive and Forget

The forgive part was easy. After all, it happened when I was in the second grade.

But here I am seventy years later writing about it. So much for the “forget” part of that tried and true advice.

It was 1942 and like all other cities in America, uptown Charlotte was full of soldiers, particularly when a trainload of troops would stop in our town overnight on their way to who knows where. The few Hotels back then were quickly booked up so citizens would volunteer to take in as many soldiers as they could accommodate. My Mom and Dad would always invite 2 or 3 of the men to sleep overnight in our living room.

What a thrill is was to not only meet some of my heroes but to have them spend the night at our house! I have no doubt that they would have preferred a home that didn't have a nosy kid pestering them with a hundred questions, but to a man, they were very kind and tolerant toward me.

WW2 Paratroopers

My favorite of all the branches of service were the paratroopers. There were two things about them that completely captured my imagination: the boots they wore....with the pants legs tucked in the tops, and the pin they wore on their uniforms; the one featuring two wings with a parachute between them.

Two symbols of their strength and courage.

I got to see those impressive icons close up one evening when two of those brave men slept over in our living room.

As usual, they were peppered with question after question from the bothersome kid of the house until well past his bedtime......probably as late as 9:15.

One of the men seemed to actually enjoy my company and as I recall said he had a son “back home” who was almost my age.

By the time I got up the next day, my Mom had already served the soldiers breakfast and my Dad had driven them to the train station. Mom said that one of them had left something for me on the table by the lamp. He said it was a gift for me.

WW2 Paratrooper Pin
Sure enough, there it was. Sitting beside the lamp.

His paratrooper pin!

Never had I received a gift like that!

I'll have to think long and hard about whether in all 75 years of my life I've ever been more thrilled about a gift as I was that morning!

Ed Myers 4th grade
The only thing I can think of that comes close is the sailor cap my uncle, who was in the Navy, sent me shortly after that, which I wore for the entire duration of the war.

My Mom pinned the paratrooper wings on my jacket and off to school I went, proud as a peacock. I think most of my classmates were mildly impressed but there was one kid who seemed as thrilled about it as I was. As I think back on it, his enthusiasm seemed a little bit over the top, but at the time I was pleased that he apparently was sharing in my joy.

The school day seemed to drag on forever. All I could think about was walking home proudly wearing my paratrooper pin!

Finally, the bell rang and I raced to the cloakroom (located behind the classroom) and grabbed my jacket. I immediately saw that the pin was no longer attached to my coat. I searched frantically thinking that it must somehow have fallen off.

 Paratroopers  jumping on D-Day
I was still searching after all the other kids had left. The teacher was surprised that I was still there and helped me look for my lost treasure. She thought it strange that something pinned to a jacket would fall off by itself, and told me that I should have said something to her about it before all the other kids had left.

She knew that the medal had been stolen. So did my parents.

But I continued to be in denial, and searched that cloakroom everyday for the rest of the year.

Of course I never saw my prized possession again

It had been mine for less than eight hours.

I saw a replica of that pin advertised on the Internet the other day so I bought it in case I ever tell that story to my grand kids I'll be able to show them what it looked like.

Also, the next time I go down to Charlotte, I'm going to contact Elizabeth School and see if they'll let me search that cloakroom one more time. -Ed

Saturday, July 09, 2011

The Boys of Summer

(Jane Thornhill Cobb calls our attention to the recent issue of Charlotte Magazine in which an article by Ken Garfield quotes our own Vic Brawley.)  


By Ken Garfield

Each Tuesday night this summer at Park Road Park, 232 older guys strap on knee braces and stop the clock. Left behind are the bills at home and bull at work. Black, white, banker, blue collar, lanky and large – for one hour, all of us become one in that most joyful of escapes…

Vic Brawley (L)
Senior Softball.

Charlotte Senior Sports offers men 45 and up the chance to play slow-pitch softball – to be kids again! – 32 weeks a year. Yes, that’s the game played by thousands in every corner of the Carolinas, where the pitcher throws moonballs and the hitters armed with aluminum bats send it screaming into the night. We are given brightly colored team jerseys and divided into teams with names like Gene’s Golden Oldies and Like Fine Wine. There are a few special rules for old guys: Two home plates – one for the catcher and the other for the runner – to avoid collisions. And pinch runners for those who can’t take another step. For a $40 entry fee, we get to hit, field, get dirt all over ourselves and then limp home until the next Tuesday.

Charles Curry, 63, who’s been playing softball for 42 years, organizes the league – overseeing a web site (www.charlotteseniorsports.com), dividing players into teams and operating two seasons a year. When the current Spring/Summer season ends in mid-July, the Fall season starts up in August.

There are still a bunch of 47-year-olds in the league whose knees don’t ache yet. But the soul of Tuesday night belongs to the nearly 80 guys age 60 and over, the ones for whom playing softball means more than we know.

Don Patenaude, a retired college professor who turns 70 in November, is a cancer survivor. “This is the place to come on Tuesday night and get my reprieve.”…

Vic Brawley, retired from the Air National Guard, has been playing softball since he’s 16. Now 75, he admits it pretty much hurts everywhere. Still, he says, “It beats watching television.”

Four years after breaking both ankles and suffering assorted other injuries in a wreck, Tommy Johnson, 66, is back roaming the outfield for the Golden Nuggets. It’s simple. “I like to play.”

Retired toolmaker Herman Horne, 74, has been playing senior softball for 24 years. These days he mostly plays catcher and first base. His back’s been giving him trouble. But his wife, Gladys, died last December, and the house can get awfully quiet now in the evening.

The first year I discovered this fountain of youth about a mile from my house in south Charlotte, Jorge Cowley, 62, was my coach. Actually, he was my third coach after the first two quit. Don’t ask. I see Jorge on game nights now and he waves as he rushes to the field carrying his scorebook and smiling like he’s 12 years old. Lawyer by day. Softball player by night. “We’re kids again on Tuesday nights,” he says.


Ken Garfield, 58, is director of communications at Myers Park United Methodist Church in Charlotte. In addition to Senior Softball, he pitches in a church league and still coaches his former Charlotte Observer colleagues in the Media League.

LDL THIS TUESDAY

We'll be looking for you !

Jerry Gaudet reminds us that
"LDL" (Let's do lunch) will be held on
Tuesday, July 12, 2011, 11:30 AM
at Jimmies Restaurant

off Hwy. 51 (in Mint Hill)
7024 Brighton Park Dr.
Mint Hill, NC
704/545-7750

THIS LINK may help you find your way:
 Tell everybody! Invite other classmates to come!
Even better, bring someone with you! But, be sure YOU come!

Friday, July 08, 2011

"Consarn it!"

Gabby Hayes
It hit me like a brick the other day!

Here I am, according to the Carolina Theater School of knowledge, in the Gabby Hayes phase of my life with 5 wonderful grandchildren all living nearby........and as far as I know they've never heard me say anything memorable that they can pass on to their children and grandchildren.

You know, things they can interject someday into a conversation with their kids, like “Well, as my old grand pappy used to say...........”(Fill in the blank.)”

That's because I don't think I've ever said anything particularly pithy or colorful enough to be worth passing on.

Unless you can count “What's for dinner?” or “For crying out loud, hold the noise down!”

I even turned to a famous quotation book looking for some things I could start dropping into my conversations with the grand kids....things like,


“Never say whoa in a mud hole”.
“If you lend someone $20 and never see that person again, it was probably worth it.
“Generally speaking, you aren't learning much when your lips are moving.”

Naw, that won't work.

My next thought was to sprinkle around advice that I got from my dear parents and grandparents, like,

“Never go out in the rain without your galoshes.”
“Always carry a nickle in your pocket in case you need to make a phone call.
“Margerine is a lot better for your health than butter.”
“Sound as a dollar.”

Gabby Hayes and Roy Rogers
That won't work either.

Finally, Jumping Jehosaphats!, it dawned on me that the answer had been staring me in the face all along; the secret was to take the Gabby Hayes approach!

He never gave advice that could become outdated, never disagreed with Roy or Gene or anyone else....and his Hayesisms were always appropriate!

I can almost hear it now.......one of these days as I'm sitting on a cloud playing my harp (hopefully) I come to the end of a heavenly adagio....and hear one of my grand kids way down on earth talking to his lovable goldurned whippersnappers .

”...that's my advice to you kids and that's what you're going to do from now on, right? And as my old Grand pappy used to say, “Yer Durn Tootin!”

Thanks Gabby.

-Ed

Thursday, July 07, 2011

The Shadow Knows

I opened the CHS54 email this morning and lo and behold there were the addresses and phone numbers of two of our missing classmates....courtesy of a mysterious stranger!

We've been looking for these people for a long time now and out of the blue comes information that has eluded us....thanks to an unknown super sleuth.


Tom Harvey
My first guess was it had to be the work of the SHADOW. However, he signed his name Tom Harvey....and I remembered that the SHADOW'S real name was Lamont Cranston.

So, I did some sleuthing of my own (I emailed him back), and discovered that his name really is  Tom Harvey:

Hi Ed,

Clay Eubanks
 I'm not connected in any way to Central High School.  I have a friend, Clay Eubanks, who was in your class.  He asked me to help locate a classmate a while ago, which led me to your website.  Finding classmates is just a pastime of mine.


I'm a retired pharmacist living in Alpharetta, GA.  I got interested in finding classmates several years ago, and sort of got hooked on it.  Yes, it's amazing, and rather sad,  how many people have no interest in re-connecting with their old friends and classmates.  I graduated from Glynn Academy, Brunswick, GA - class of '61.  We're having our 50th coming up in October, and I'm excited.


Regards,
Tom


Tom also turned up some bad news concerning one of our classmates, Fred Howard:


Fred Howard
Mr. Frederick Earl Howard 52, of Edisto Island, S.C.,formerly of Charlotte, died Nov. 21, 1989, at Colleton Regional Hospital in Walterboro, S.C. Funeral is private. Herndon & Sons Funeral Home of Walterboro is in charge. 

Mr. Howard, a Charlotte native, was a retired Duke Power Co. draftsman and an Army veteran.
Survivors are his wife, Yvonne; daughter, Mrs. Ginger McCraken; mother, Mrs. Birge Howard of West Jefferson.





(NOTE: Regarding our two "found" classmates, Jerry is checking them out to make sure that they WANT to be found....and if so I'll let you know who they are. 

PS....Thanks Tom!   and Thanks Clay!   -Ed)

 ....

Also in today's CHS54 news, Ellousie got a “boffo” review in the Washington Examiner of her new show which opens at the FRINGE Theatre in Washington tomorrow night!

"A professional storyteller for almost twenty years, Ellouise will take her Capital Fringe listeners by the hand as she has done at the Jonesboro Storytelling Festival, the Rogue Festival in Fresno as well as countless schools and universities.

Finding Gus was no easy task as she and her mother had minimal contact with Gus's family for decades.  He died when Ellouise's mother was only 15 months old and her grandmother just couldn't talk about him.  

Gus Keasler
Listen to her dig a memory trail which winds through years of personal research; cemeteries; DAR genealogy books; census records itemizing animals and millinery supplies at her great grandfather's family farm; and last, but far from least, the personal memories of her outspoken and compassionate great aunt Annie Laurie.  Intriguing details about Gus's football career at Clemson at the turn of the beginning of the 20th century as well as life on a hardscrabble farm transport listeners to a time and place otherwise difficult if not impossible to experience as intimately.

This is a fully crafted story of love and loss and finding.  
Invite your friends and then make a dinner or drinks date afterward so that you can share your stories that bubble to the surface.  You're guaranteed a full night of "ha ha!" and "ah ha!" and "aaaaah!"

Location: Goethe Institute Mainstage, 812 7th Street NW, Washington, DC 20001
Dates and Times: Friday, July 8 at 6 pm; Sat, July 9 at 2:15 pm; Wed July 20 at 6 pm; Friday, July 22 at 6 pm; Sunday, July 24 at 4 pm.

Tickets: www.CapitalFringe.org or 866-811-4111
 ....

Wednesday, July 06, 2011

Dog Days

I heard someone say one time that “...there were times in my life when I would have paid $100 an hour for some boredom.”

I think that probably applies to all of us, it certainly does to me.

The “Dog Days of Summer,” which have just begun (early July through early September) is the perfect time for most of us to take a mental vacation and enjoy a good hearty dose of boredom.

I'm going to do my best to mentally “return to those (less than) exciting days of yesteryear” (Thank you Lone Ranger) and try and recreate some of those endless days of summer growing up in Charlotte.

I figure I'd better do this now, before the time comes again when I'll have to shell out those !00 dollar bills.

PS.....if you've ever wondered why they're called “Dog Days,” go HERE

-Ed