Tuesday, August 08, 2017

And Now, It's Time For.....

The Weakly Reader Volume III, No. 2 

Winston-Salem, North Carolina 27 July 2017     Welcome to another edition of The Weakly Reader…  brought to you by the makers of Hot Ralston, the warm-up, fill-up breakfast full of cowboy energy.  Take a tip from Tom, go and tell your mom: “Hot Ralston Can’t Be Beat.”

Christmas in July    

Today’s program is entitled “Christmas in July,” a phrase purloined from the Australian TV series, Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries.  I watched it last week.  Apparently, it snows heavily this time of year in Australia.  Those down-under snow scenes relieved the stress of the 90-degree days we were suffering in North America.

Shall we get started?  

Yes, it is Christmas in July.  How do I know this?  I know it because I received a wonderful gift on the 25th … of July.  The gift came not from Santa but from a long-time friend and fraternity brother, Fred H. McIntyre who graduated from Charlotte Central High School the year after I did.       We roomed together my last two years at Duke, slogging our way toward degrees in civil engineering.  In the ensuing years neither of us “practiced” engineering.  After spending three years on active duty aboard the aircraft carrier Wasp, I went to Wake Forest Law School, passed the bar exam in August 1965 and started a practice in January 1966.

Family Joke

    My engineering degree became a family joke, one that I have perpetuated to this day.  Fred became president of Mid-State Ceramic Tile Co. in Lexington, NC, retiring years ago.  Alas, like most folks of our age, Fred began to downsize, selling his home adjacent to the Lexington Country Club and moving to a smaller, more manageable condo in nearby Thomasville, NC.  He took a lot of “stuff” with him.  
    Like most of us, Fred has taken many moons to go though the countless boxes associated with downsizing.  I, too, try to shed this house of many personal items but find it virtually impossible to do so.   Here is an example:  I have a 2-inch disc that once adorned the steering wheel of my first car, a 1954 Chevrolet purchased for $50.00 in 1962 from my grandfather’s estate.  My list is endless.  The task is endless.  Fred, though, is much better about this than I… which brings us back to Christmas in July.
Long Gone
    You see, Fred and I not only went to Central and Duke but we also went to Alexander Graham Junior High.  In those days (1949-52) AG  students published an annual, Signing Off.  Every student got one every year.  Mine are long gone.  Fred saved his, all three sprinkled with notes from friends and classmates.  In a remarkable gesture, he offered them to me.  This was especially meaningful because of my close relationship with Mary Sandra (Schulken) Costner who was editor of the 1951 edition of Signing Off.
    The three annuals arrived on the 25th of July in excellent condition.  In addition to seeing the many pictures of old classmates, it was a treat to thumb through the 1951 Signing Off .  It came as no surprise to see that Diana Carpenter was one of the 1951Class Superlatives: Most Scholarly.  I was excited to find this on Page 41:
        Now our time is running out, and we are leaving A.G.  It is goodbye,     goodbye to Alexander Graham, where we have spent some of the best years  of our lives.  We knew we would have to leave, but now we are finding it hard to say goodbye to all the familiar faces and landmarks.
        From here on we each have a separate path to follow, a separate goal to reach.  The struggle to the top will be long and difficult, but with the encouragement and knowledge we have received here it will be made easier,
        We can and must succeed.  We shall try to make the future as pleasant as the past and each in his own way make private history.
                            MARY RAN NORTON    Historian
    Finally, I am grateful to Fred H. McIntyre who sent me these wonderful books.  They look good on my living-room coffee table… right next to my 1954 Chevy steering-wheel disc.  Thank you, Fred, for making Christmas in July a memorable and merry one.  My downsizing will have to wait.
    Merry Christmas, everybody.  Merry Christmas!  
The Weakly Reader
Warren Sparrow, Editor and Publisher