Nostalgic Notes

Published 11:13 am Monday, July 21, 2008

By Staff
One year down, several more to go
By Lowell McGill
This marks one year of writing nostalgic events. For the past four days I have had the opportunity to review those many columns. The reason was because I was in the hospital for a pacemaker implant and I had quite a lot of free time. But more about the hospital later.
I remember that first column which was about my early days at WATM. I wrote about Tom and Ernestine Miniard, Wayne Butts, Sam Ford and the entire WATM staff.
I told you in another column about having a flat tire in Jack, Alabama only to discover that I did not have a jack in my car trunk.
Other columns included the lives and times of all the Atmore Barbers., the Vickery families of baseball renown and the friendly neighbors of northwest Florida.
I wrote about the outstanding careers of Floyd Adams, Woody McCorvey and his late father Professor Woodrow McCorvey.
I related a special North Carolina based baseball tournament when Thomas Miller hit the long home run and the ball bounced onto a flatcar of a passing freight train. I also told how Alfred Brown picked his guitar and sang while we were perched on top his bus. I was broadcasting the game back to Atmore and Alfred was serenading our listeners.
I rendered you a story on my trip back home from that game riding with J.P. Madison and Otis Miller. In that story you learned how Otis ate up all the chicken at a caf/ near Atlanta. The caf/ displayed a sign “Chicken-All You Can Eat.”
Northrop Grumman-Eads vs. Boeing for the tanker contract at Mobile’s old Brookley Field was the subject of another column.
The lives and tales of John and Dud Troutman inspired a comical inspiration for another column. This was especially interesting in that Dud was such a great imitator of his many friends. He could stand behind a locked door and mock someone’s voice and you would almost swear it was the person talking instead of Dud.
My Louisiana friends, their habits, food and perote boats were the subjects of several columns. I wrote about RFD TV, the old steam locomotives and the old railroad depot agents.
But there was one particular column which was special to me. It was “Riding In An Ambulance Backwards.” I tried to create the mood for being transported to a hospital by ambulance. I explained the role of the capable and efficient EMTS who cared for you on that ride. I saw all those familiar scenes roll into the distance through the rear window and having to leave your home and friends behind. The sounds and all the sights you knew and loved so well quickly faded away as the ambulance motored toward the hospital. That column created numerous e-mails. But a tremendous honor was given me by the French, as the column was picked up and used in their French EMS publication.
Thus, the ambulance ride story brought me to today’s column.
You see those four days down at Springhill Memorial gave me time to prepare a sequel. It was the third time I had such a ride. Ten years ago with atrial fib was the first ride. Five years ago I took a second ride for by bypass artery surgery. Then last Wednesday I took my third ride. This time I received a pacemaker.
I am still amazed today at all of the modern methods of medical treatment that have come on the scene. You are a completely computerized person when you become a hospital patient. Those doctors can pin point and treat every imaginable ailment.
Well, everything went just great and I am ready to go another set of years.
One thing I want to add and this is directed to all writers of obituary related stories. As I read the obits in the paper each day I am amazed at the untrained writers who still list a hospital as a place of death. I learned this from my classes at the University of Alabama in 1954, Martin Ritchie, Bob Morressette and Phil Sokol of the Advance these are “no nos.”
For example “Mr. John P. Public died at the Farmers Idaho Hospital.” This should never be used. It should be “Mr John P. Public passed away at a LOCAL hospital.” This reflects on the integrity of the hospital. You should never use a hospital by name on stories of this nature. Properly schooled writers should not use this terminology. After all, hospitals are for healing and overcoming sickness.
I want to thank each one of for your cards, phone calls and especially your prayers. They were very uplifting and helped me so very, very much.
Lowell McGill is a historical columnist for The Atmore Advance. He can be reached at

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