Several ECHS reunions set for this weekend

Published 8:22 am Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Another ECHS class reunion is set for this weekend. Saturday, March 29, is the big day for the 1954-1955 classes.

The event gets underway with a noon meal at Davids’s Catfish House, with other meals planned at The Wind Creek Casino. A tour of the old high school is also included on the agenda.

I remember a couple of those 1954 class members who played football. Glen Jernigan and Alan Davis come to mind. The school had a real good team that year. Sam Ford and I followed all their games as we broadcast them over WATM. Names of other players on that team escape me right now, but I do remember our calling some exciting games.

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This marks the 59th and 60th anniversaries of these classes.
In some other news, Jimmy Beck has furnished me a folder filled with copies of the 1942 and 1943 ESCOHI newspapers — the official publication for Escambia County High School. Jimmy said the folder belonged to the Atmore Historical Society and was assembled by the late Byard Swift. The folder contains a multitude of stories of students and events of the era. I plan on using these stories regularly in my column.

The staff members of that November 1942 edition are Johnnie Shirley, Sara Lisenby, Martha Sowell, Louisa Malone, Herbart Nall Robert Maxwell, Juanita Watford, Margaret Rogers, Robert Bennett, Claude Swift, Florence Earle, Maurice Lowery, Winton Lowery, Nell Sue Wachob, Lawrence Dickenson, Bonnie Jean Dewey, Ruth Goldsmith, Edith Thompson, Dorothy Bryars, Nina Kate Temple, Drunetta Little, Elinor Crawford, Billy Davis, Gayle Alston, Robert Lewis, Betty Beasley and Marjorie Woodward.

A popular monthly column, “I DO BELIEVE,” was written by one of the school reporters. Excerpts from that edition included “that Joe Brown can’t be quiet,” ”that Mrs. James can jitterbug,” “that Betty is two timing Earle,” “that we are going to beat Bay Minette,” and “that all the girls work at Elmore’s just because they think it is patriotic — to watch the fleet come by.”

There was an ECHS Hit Parade of popular songs of the time. Heading the list was “Mr. Five by Five” followed by “White Christmas,” “Praise the Lord and Pass the Ammunition,” “There’s a Star Bangled Banner Waving Somewhere,” and “I’ve Got a Gal in Kalamazoo.”

Some of the football team members were (backfield) H.J. Smith, John Bachelor, Ben Maxwell and Edward Sims. Linemen were S. White, E. Bryars, B. Davis, G. Ward, S. Hixon, J. Forte and J. Robinson.

Neatly laid out on the back page were pen and pencil sketched commercial ads paid for by Steele Market, Escambia Drug Store, Elite Barber Shop, Atmore Shoe Hospital and The Strand Theatre. The Major, starring Ray Milland and Ginger Rogers was the featured movie showing that week.

I’ll review another edition of this paper in an upcoming column.

For those of you who have homes requiring flood insurance coverage — especially on or near the Gulf — this news may not be what you want to hear.

First, more residents in these areas could possibly be included in new flood maps. And, if you have a mortgage you will be required to carry flood insurance. A recent new law did cut back on a major rise in premium cost but annual increases, high as 18 percent, could push some premium payments to a level equal to some mortgage monthly payments. These new premium hikes also include business coverage, as well.
Folks living south of I-10 are already paying higher premiums for their homeowner coverage and now the flood hike will merely tax their insurance budgets even more. Situations like these make it even “tougher” to sustain lavish living styles these days.

In some news from 1974, R.L. Watson and Steve Peterson were named football and baseball coaches respectively at Escambia Academy. Steve, who is married to Tony Albert’s daughter, became the head baseball coach at Middle Tennessee State University and R.L. and his well known son became highly regarded high school football coaches. And, speaking of MTSU have you ever been in that area? Located not too far north of the Alabama state line, you will find cedar trees galore along the highway. They make for such an inviting and welcoming site.

Next week we will have more news of people, places and events from days gone by.

You can email Lowell McGill at