Wednesday, February 15, 2017
The nicest, kindest and most loving obituary I’ve ever read is in this morning’s PCNH, for June Rowell, June Rowell Harrison. I was in the Bay High band with June and Jerry in the early 1950s, both of them a year ahead of my class of 1953. They were a couple then and what a great life story a family member wrote about June from birth to death, and them together, and a family that obviously was loving and close lifelong. I had my own tiny circle of friends in the band, was never close with June and Jerry in the high school band days, but I was there with them and I remember the sparkle of the two of them livening and brightening the already exuberant musical institution that Mr. Whitley’s band always was.
Of it all, being in the band the highlight of my high school years — remembering it all! — what do I especially remember from those days. The football games in Tommy Oliver Stadium and out of town especially to Pensacola and Tallahassee, both places I had dear and special friends from Camp Weed in the PHS and Leon bands, the parades, the band festival trips where we always got Superior ratings in everything, train rides on the BayLine with windows open in the coaches, the Peanut Festival Parade in Dothan, seems to me the band may have ridden the BayLine to Columbus, Georgia for football games but not sure. My special friends in the band were always Parker Reynolds and Sherry Whitley. Jerry’s father was the Oldsmobile dealer, Harrison Olds and I think also GMC trucks. In our band years, Mr. Whitley bought a new Olds 88, I reckon he bought it from Jerry’s father. It was one hot car. My favorite high school teacher along with Bill Weeks, Mr. Whitley died August 1955, just before I started my junior year at UFla in Gainesville. More than three decades later, a few years after Linda, Tass and I moved to Apalachicola from Pennsylvania, we bought a pink brick house on Bunkers Cove Road from Jerry’s mother, Ruth Harrison, who by then was a realtor, and I remember Ruth’s excitement about the triple wedding that was about to happen at First Baptist Church with her grandchildren, Jerry and June’s daughter and two sons. It’s mentioned in June’s obit this morning.
Why the cars - - because an obituary calls up all kinds of memories, and this morning I’m remembering the throaty sound of the V8 engine in Mr. Whitley’s Oldsmobile. Was it a 1951 or a 1952? It was silver or gray, BSW, it did not have the rear fender skirts.
DThos+ still chugging along
top pic: 201702150615 but completely cleared over and sunny at the moment, 0710.
Posted by Tom Weller at 7:10 AM