My Memories by David Sims

My name is David Sims; I live with my wife in Mobile County.

I'm not sure of the year, but I lived with my mom, dad, and sister on the corner of Andrew Jackson Way and Halsey Avenue. The 2 years we lived there can be placed by the opening of Lee High School; I was in the seventh and eighth grades there - I want to say 1960, but not sure. My dad, like most in Huntsville's boom era, worked at Redstone.

I remember a Royal Crown Cola bottling facility across from us on Andrew Jackson Way and a huge Baptist church directly behind us. I remember that when the church had a funeral I would have to cease shooting hoops in my backyard (making noise). There was a small store adjacent to the bottling company where a kid could buy comic books at reduced prices and something called a “pig in a poke” for a nickel, a small bag of candy and surprises. There was a family-owned cafe next to the store that sold good but greasy hamburgers. The homes had an alley way behind them, a single lane for, I can only suppose, deliveries made in an earlier era. Even when I lived there many homes still had privies (outhouses) still standing near that alley way. I think we had 3 fireplaces in our house, all connected to a single chimney.

Further toward the mill, was an old church (may have been a school at one time, I don't know) frame constructed that had a football field where most of us went to play touch football. Inside that white clapboard abandoned church was a full size gym and a bowling alley of sorts, duck pin I think. It was a neat place to explore. I played pee-wee football for the Boy's Club at the Optimist field, and junior varsity at Lee until injured. I was one of the school patrol boys who greeted you each morning at the entrance of Lee. As such we got to go to the Lyric theatre for 25 cents on Fridays. There was a Krystal burger café somewhere close to the theater, where for a dime you could hop the bus to town, then get yourself ten Krystals, go to the movie (sometimes a double feature), and get a soft drink all for less than a buck fifty. By the way, I never could eat ten Krystals, maybe 8 max. I also directed parking at a concert at Lee one night and got to meet a gal named Skeeter Davis, and I think Brenda Lee was there as well.

I did have to take a math class for 2 semesters at Rison to make up for failing at Lee. Lee would drop a grade each year until it became a full fledge high school. So at lunch I would walk over to Rison for a class.

That year we had 2 tragic deaths at Lee. One was a boy named John Cris, who was run over by a hit and run driver; the other I can't remember his full name - Leland or Leeman - drove a Harley 165 motor bike - was hit at a train crossing I think.

Does anyone know where I can get a bio on Miss Elizabeth Monroe? I think of her often all these years; she was an inspiration in a way. I don't say this out of disrespect, but Lord was she ever old and ancient. I remember her shooting a big chicken hawk out on her farm and bringing it to school for all of us to see. She told me personally once that I would get by in this world if I just read a good newspaper every day; I think she had her doubts about me back then and could foresee things! She did “pass the torch” though, through her many years of teaching of us kids. She taught me to recite, with feeling and exuberance:

"Under the spreading chestnut tree,
The village smithy stands
The smith, a mighty man is he
with large and sinewy hands."
The Village Blacksmith

Also, just for the record: Every morning without fail, we had either a devotional or prayer; sometimes over the loud speaker during morning announcements, always Christian-Judea based. I have lived to 58 yrs young now, been all over America and some foreign places; I want to state that I don't think it hurt me a single iota. In fact, in my own way, I want to say to the staff/teachers, Mr. Fain, Mr. Jones – thanks!