Mar 24

The 1946 Glomerata, part three

More photos, via the new desktop camera. The workflow is getting a little bit better. The quality of photos seem a bit nicer, and I expect they will continue to improve. I am, so far, quite pleased. This feels, at least, like a more efficient way to share ancient photos.

So here are a few more selected shots from the 1946 Glomerata. The first few shots can be found, here in the blog, where this seems to be becoming the Friday feature. The full collection lives in the Glomerata section, of course.

Let’s see a bit more of what was worth memorializing 78 years ago, shall we?

So here are five freshmen. You can tell from their rat caps, which we touched on last week. Also, you can tell from the caption.

Why are the freshmen running around in their pajamas? This is about the Georgia Tech game. This yearbook is from 1946, and this is from the 1945 football season. This is an event commemorating Auburn’s first home game against Georgia Tech, their first ever home game, as it turns out. That was in November of 1896 and Auburn wrecked Tech, 45-0, a score that might have had more to do with Zzzzs than the now-traditional Xs and Os of football.

Tech, you see, was coming in by a special train in the early morning before that 1896 game. Some API students decided to head down to the tracks and coated the rails on either side of the train station with grease, lard, soap and who knows what else. The train couldn’t stop, so the visiting team had to walk back, several miles, on that same railway, football gear in hand. When they got wise, Georgia Tech got mad. They refused to play the Tigers the next year, and only suited up in 1898 when the university threatened expulsion over any similar pranks. But the legend was by then, well, legendary. The Wreck Tech Pajama Parade, an annual (but sadly discontinued) commemoration and symbolic reenactment of the hi-jinks featuring a pajama-clad march to the Train Depot for a pep rally and even more questionable hijinxs.

Hence the pajamas. After this parade, the Tigers lost 20-7 in Atlanta. Blame the freshmen.

Which brings us to the athletics section of the 1946 Glomerata. Here’s a generic shot that fronts the section. If there was a caption, I’d tell you all about it. Alas.

I’ve settled on avoiding headshots for this feature, but this is Curtis Kuykendall. Curtis Kuykendall was a bad, bad man. In 1944, against Miami, he rushed for 307 yards rushing, still a school record, and probably it always will be. (In the 80 years since, just five SEC running backs have broken 300 yards in a single game.)

He was a two-time team captain, a Blue-Gray all star, and was drafted by Washington, but he never played in the NFL. Kuykendall became a veterinarian, something of a family tradition.

Here’s a wide shot from a football game. This one was played in nearby Columbus, Georgia. This is the annual meeting with rival Georgia, who won this game 35-0.

The legend goes that, for years, the two head coaches would sit down and separate the gate money between the two schools. One dollar for yours, one dollar for mine.

Those buildings in the background aren’t there anymore. In their place now are parking lots and the town’s civic center.

This is one of my favorite photos in the book, and perhaps from the decade. Let’s jump in.

The guy on the left is Robert Larry Riedel, a pre-vet major from Florida. He passed away in 1967, two kids. His daughter was in the jewelry business. His son became a champion saddle bronc rider. His wife survived him by 50-plus years.

The next guy over is Herman Smith. He’s listed as a pre-law junior. A quick search doesn’t yield much definitive about him. Blame the last name. (No relation, by the way.)

The third young man is Bill Cook, who would become a veterinarian. He worked in Tennessee for almost 60 years. Loved the lake. He died in 2016 at the age of 91.

On the far right is Louis McClain, also a pre-vet major. He died just three years after this photo, in Birmingham, in 1948. He was just 24 years old. I don’t see any stories about his death in the local paper. He’s buried back in his hometown, in Anderson, South Carolina.

I love the photo because of the young women who are leaping. Leaping into the future, really. Helen Walden is on the left. She was a local girl, a sophomore, and she was studying the perfect 1940s hairstyles and, more importantly, aeronautical administration. A little under two years from this photo she married a man named Curtis Silvernail, a sailor during the war, and an International Paper employee thereafter. They were together for 50 years before she died, in 1997. They lived around Mobile.

Then there is this confident, intent look on Wyleen Hill’s face. She’s jumping into the future, and she sees it all before her. You can just tell. A native of Dalton, Georgia, she was a senior and a pharmacy major, one of only two women to graduate from the program that year. She went home and worked in her father’s pharmacy. She helped start a school for children with developmental disabilities in 1957, a concern that is still in operation today.

She died in 2010, in her mid-80s. The second sentence in her obituary noted her smile, which was still radiant even into her later years. The fourth sentence mentions her time as a cheerleader. It also mentions her additional work with another health care foundation. It looks like she has six children and five grandchildren. Wyleen sounds like a wonderful woman.

The cutline here says this is from the Mississippi game. Modern iterations of the 1945 basketball schedule tell me that Auburn didn’t play Mississippi that year. They did, however, play Mississippi State four times — twice in December and twice in February. I guess if you were taking a train you decided to play two days in a row.

Auburn won three of four.

Let’s check on the track team. On the left we have Don Harper, a sophomore from tiny Elba, Alabama, population of less than 3,000 back then and not much more today. Harper was studying agricultural engineering. He caught on with Thiokol Chemical in 1955 and worked there for 34 years. He worked on the Saturn V rockets and on ballistic missile and space shuttle programs, specifically the solid rocket boosters.

He helped found his church. He was married for almost 48 years, until his death. He and his wife had two children. One of them is a now-retired business professor.

Running alongside Harper is Harold Hartwig, who was a freshman from just up the road in Elizabeth, New Jersey. I haven’t uncovered much about him, however. (The year book cut his head off, not me.)

Similarly, I found a Tom Tabor, who is the young man jumping on the left, here. He is listed as a junior studying business administration. But I’m not sure if the older man I found has long jumps in his past, so I’ll leave it alone.

This other fellow, though, getting ready for the hurdles, on the right? That’s Richard Lasday. He was studying veterinary medicine, which seems to be a theme, this week. Born in Pittsburgh, he was a gardener and a painter, and active in his Jewish communities. He went to Cornell, and then Auburn. He served, domestically, in the U.S. Army during the Korean War. He married, in 1950, a woman he met on a blind date. They had three children, and they had five grandchildren. Lasday lost his wife, who seemed incredibly active in every community they would call home, in 2011. They were married almost 62 years. Richard worked in the veterinary field until he was 85. He passed away at 95.

There’s a building on campus named after this man. I took classes there for three terms. At that time, I thought it was named after two people. Most buildings get the shorthand, last name treatment. This one got two names and, for a student concerned about making it into classroom on time, it just seemed like this building was named after two folks. Nope. Just the one. Just this one. This is Telfair Peet.

His middle initial is B. I just learned his middle name was Boys. Peet was the drama department chair in his day. He died at just 60 years old, about two decades after this photo was taken. He’s younger in this photo than I am today. His wife survived him by decades. I was still attending plays in the building named after her husband when she died.

Speaking of performances, our last photo of the day is of Dr. Hollace Arment. He was the director of the glee club. You can tell he’s excited, because he’s just heard of these new inventions called briefcases and backpacks. He’s just waiting for the first ones to arrive in local stores.

He graduated from an Idaho high school, and would wind up singing all over the country. Probably you and I will never know how he wound up at API, but Arment was a singer of some renown. He was a tenor, and he performed all over the country. In the 1930s, he was in a group called The Balladeers. I believe he might be singing lead on the song Come Where My Love Lies Dreaming.

He retired from the Daytona Beach Community College in 1973, where he spent the last nine years of his career. Soon after the local paper wrote a profile on the man, his childhood in a covered wagon, singing for others, traveling, and teaching. He was also an accomplished puppeteer and, possibly, an amateur geologist. His wife was a high school teacher. They had at least two children according to that first story. He died, just three years after retiring in Florida, at 70.

If I keep looking these people up they will just get more and more interesting, so this is probably a good place to wrap it up for now.

Mar 24

The 1946 Glomerata, part two

I’m back to putting my new desktop document camera through its testing phases. The workflow will improve. Presumably the quality of the photos will, as well. For now, though, I’m extremely pleased. Not the least of which because this is a better, easier, way to show you some ancient photographs.

What follows are a few more selected shots from the 1946 Glomerata. (The first few shots can be found, in the blog, here. The full collection lives in the Glomerata section, of course.

Let’s see a bit more of what was worth memorializing 78 years ago, shall we?

The cutline here simply says “electrical engineering students.” This is one of those photos that sits alongside the headshots, the sophomore class, in this case.

They look pretty old for sophomores, don’t they? (I spent some time looking for the guy in the middle in the faculty photographs … ) I suppose the age could be the post-war enrollment effect. If it isn’t that, we’ll surely see that soon enough.

At the beginning of the freshman class photos, we see this next photo. Even back then there were great efforts made to make sure the new students felt involved. Mostly by making the rats and ratlets, as they were still called, to learn their place and the rules.

These were the rules. Don’t walk through the main gate. Carry matches for upperclassmen. Learn the “Rat’s Excuse For Living.” Speak to absolutely everyone you meet. Attend all mass meetings. Learn and sing the alma mater. Know the landmarks. Wear your rat cap at all times. Learn the Creed.

This was the excuse for living: Insasmuch as any living creature, no matter how small or insignificant, has a right to strive for its existence, so I, a lowly rate of Auburn, lowest scum of the earth except those of Georgia and Tech, do hereby strive for mine. Thank you very kindly, sir!

It sounds like hazing, and probably it kind of was, but it was also an important part of the social experience.

You can see the guy’s rat cap on his knee. The way it worked was, freshmen had to wear this in the fall. If Auburn beat Bama, the rat caps could be put away. If the Tigers lost, the freshmen had to wear these until June. If you were caught without your cap, you were thrown in the hog pond. This whole tradition died out a decade or so after this guy wore his.

Including that photograph first in the freshman section probably says more about the editorial choices of the upperclassmen doing the layout. But they have let us down here. Don’t you want to know who this guy is? Surely he went on to a successful career. And that young woman, well, she’d probably rather we didn’t wind up here.

The two of them, after all, are the winners of the freshman “Tacky” Party.

You wouldn’t have to change much of his outfit to make him fit into a fraternity party today, I bet. Remarkable, really.

There’s a famous photo from a few years before where students had gathered to learn about the attack of Pearl Harbor. But now, on a sticky night in the middle of August, the students gathered to listen not to radio reports from speakers bolted on the roof of a car, but to university president Luther Duncan.

Duncan was the director of the Extension Service and became university president in 1935, a position he held until his death in 1947. He was a political animal, not universally respected in the office, but he sat there during a critical time for the university.

You’d like to think that there was some record of what was said on this night, when peace was coming at last. But the university has never been good at keeping those records. They aren’t listed among the library’s databases. Maybe there was less thought given then to memorializing such a somber, joyous moment.

This photo was apparently also from that night. You wonder what brothers, neighbors, boyfriends they were thinking of in some far off part of the world. You couldn’t fault them for wondering How long until we see them again?

This one is also said to be from the V-J announcement. You just know some of these kids told this story for decades. Where they were, what it felt like, who they were with, what it meant for tomorrow.

More of these things should be remembered and shared. It’d be lost on later generations of students, perhaps, but later generations of alumni would come around to marveling at it. Things have a way of persisting. Some of the things Duncan was fighting about, some of the things that he was appreciated for and hated for, still resonated a half century later when I was in school. Some of these more personal recollections would be worth noting, too.

One of the pageant winners, Yvonne Wallace. She was Miss Auburn that year. She’d been an education major according to earlier runs of the campus paper, but the yearbook says that, in her junior year, she was studying science and literature. Perhaps the courses of study weren’t dissimilar at the time.

Wallace was from Panama City and her name appears in a lot of these pageants. There was a woman with her married name who died, in Missouri, in 2021. Her husband, according to his obituary, also attended AU, sometime after the war. He was raised not too far from the campus. He’s not in this Glom. But, if it’s the right pair, he ran in some important professional circles. Board of this, board of that, vice president here and there and so on. His wife, was a socialite, also active in her community. I think that might be her. But it’s just a guess.

A few more slice of life photos. The cutline here is “All the mail has been put up.”

So go check your Instagram and TikTok, young ladies.

You know that shot is posed. Everything is just so and perfect, though it’d be nice to see some more of the guy back there handling the letters and care packages. Even still.

Some things we have long since forgotten about appreciating. Taken for granted isn’t even the right expression. Maybe it’s just … expected, these modern conveniences. A quick snack from a vending machine had to start somewhere. And from humble beginnings. Take a look at these candy machines that used to be in the dorms.

When people show off this particular version of the yearbook, they tend to show this photo. There are no names to accompany it.

Sometimes, her left foot seems awfully close to the water. You wonder if they stayed together.

This is part of a photo collage, which is what those white lines are about. I count 12 people in this car. That’s a dozen bad decisions in one photograph.

We’ll continue working our way through the 1946 Glomerata next week. (The photos I’m digitizing will all wind up in the Glomerata section, of course.) As soon as I add these there will be 20 on display, with many more to come.

Feb 24

The 1946 Glomerata, part one

I recently purchased a new desktop document camera. It arrived and, today, I began playing around with it. There is a lot to learn, namely consistency of production values and efficiency. But, even in this learning curve part of this new toy’s workflow is already better. When I take a photo, it is already on my computer. Struggling with this camera, then, is already better than struggling with the phone.

Anyway, the first project is taking pictures of some of the photos in this beautiful book.

That’s the 1946 edition of The Glomerata, the year book of my alma mater. I collect the yearbooks. For one, they look great. For another, it’s a unique and contained hobby. I like that it was a finite thing. The first Glom was published in 1897. (I don’t have that one, so if you run across it … ) and the last, latest one I’ll collect was the 2016 book. There are 120 in between. (One year they published two books.) I now have 112 of them.

I’m sharing these images here as I digitize them, but just in case anyone else is interested, you can find them all here.

In the 1990s I ate at The Grille, the same restaurant where the English staff, are eating. I may have eaten in this same booth.

We ate there weekly. Spaghetti, with a free second plate. Every week. It wasn’t enough. The restaurant closed while I was in school, and it is one of those things you can’t not be sad about.

But that’s not what we’re about. We’re going to see how students lived in the 1940s.

Kirtley Brown was the director of student affairs. He’d been in PR. Sometime soon after this he and his wife, the now-famed author Mary Ward Brown moved back to the family farm. He died in 1970, and she passed away in 2013. Their son became a criminal justice instructor at the nearby Marion Military Institute. Kirtley Brown, the son, retired in 2023.

And we’ll probably share every photograph of people on bikes.

Mildred Woodham was the editor of The Glomerata. From Geneva, Alabama, she studied art, graduated in 1946 and moved to New York to become a fabulously successful sculptor.

Known professionally as Jean Woodham, she had prominent shows and won prestigious awards for almost 70 years.

Her last show was at the art museum at her alma mater, in 2013. She passed away in 2021.

I don’t plan on including a lot of the posed posed shots in this collection, but she was the editor of The Glom and all of this was worth mentioning.

This is a scene from the campus newspaper, The Auburn Plainsman. I worked there in school, of course.

I’ve no idea where this room is or was. The paper was in a different building when I was in school, a building that wasn’t even on blueprints when this photo was taken. It is housed in still another building today.

Here’s another surely staged scene from The Plainsman. The careful viewer will note it is the same room, with a slightly wider angle, panned to the right, with all new people.

It was a twice-a-week publication until the late 1940s. It was a weekly, the largest weekly in the state, when I was in school. They went primarily online in 2011.

In between, they’ve won 25 National Pacemaker Awards — basically the collegiate Pulitzer — including two when I was on the staff.

Yes, I have plaques.

Mimi Simms was the editor of The Plainsman. She was the second woman to sit in the big chair. She comes from Auburn royalty.

One of her brothers played football for the university, and was recorded as the best tennis player on campus. That many became a veterinarian, much like their father did. Their young brother is Jack Simms, the legendary founding faculty member of the journalism department.

Mimi did her graduate work at the University of Alabama, but we don’t hold that sort of thing against people. It seems she never married. She died in 2000, and is buried in Tennessee with her parents.

This handsome fellow is Greg Allen, president of the veterans’ organization, and yes, there are a lot of coat and tie photos in this yearbook.

Maria Duchac’s nickname was Skippy and that’s the best possible name. Also, this was apparently a family nickname, she’s heard it her whole life. She studied chemical engineering.

I love everything about this. Her major, her nickname and that door.

And as of this writing she is apparently still with us. War Eagle, Skippy.

The cutline simply says “Folk dancing class.”

I’m assuming there’s some rule that there’s a reason they were all women. But look how some of them were so intently having fun!

But there was plenty of dancing, elsewhere, of course.

The caption here reads “Winners of Jitterbug Contest.”

White leather shoes are about due a comeback, right?

And that’s 10 photos, and 800 words on the subject. That seems like a good stopping point for now.

More from the 1946 Glom next Friday. You can see all of the book covers I’ve collected, here. And if you just like old photographs, I’ve digitized selections from a few of the other old books here.

And just so where we remember where they are, all of the 1946 photos are landing right here.

Feb 24

A nice package arrived today

On the front porch, and a day earlier than anticipated, was a box with two books inside. I found these online, on e-Bay, actually, in one of the more fruitful examples of late night insomnia. The prices were low and right and the end of the auctions were listed during the Super Bowl.

No one was paying attention to e-Bay. But I have a particular set of skills, and so I was paying attention to e-Bay and watching the game and silently wondering, for about the sixth year in a row, why we still get worked up about the commercials which were — not exactly pedestrian — but standard fare for the most part. Many commercials are well done these days, so you have to really stand out with celebrities, but they’re in spots all the time. Many commercials are good. And so even the good commercials debuted during the Super Bowl didn’t stand out too much, except for the ones that were obviously going to be controversial in some corner of the web. And that wretched Temu ad.

But I digress. I won both auctions. The nice lady who sold me the books offered to combine shipping and, today, they have arrived.

I opened the box, and inside were two large Ziploc bags. Inside each bag was a book. That book was wrapped in guerilla-resistance strength cling wrap. And, beneath, that a two layer roll of bubble wrap.

The woman who sold me these books really understands me.

Inside the first bubble wrapped, shrink wrapped, Ziploc bag was this.

That’s the 1912 Glomerata, the yearbook from my alma mater. This book is 102 years old, and the cover is showing that age. Even if it does need rebinding, the pages inside are basically perfect. The cover, particularly of the older books, is where the fun is.

Longtime readers know I collect the Glomeratas. It seemed like a good thing to get. They make a handsome bookcase. And it’s a unique thing to acquire. I know of two other people who dabbled in this. And, importantly, it is a finite thing. The first Glom was published in 1897. (I don’t have that one, so if you get a lead … ) and the last, latest one I’ll collect was the 2016 book. There are 120 in between. (One year they published two books.) I have 112 of them.

As I said, it’s a handsome bookcase.

The other book was the 1907 Glomerata. It has been rebound. It’s a generic black cover. No need to show you that, but what’s inside is also where the fun is.

I just spent a few minutes flipping through the 1907 book. The highest quality photos are the studio head shots and the posed group photos. There are a few candid action shots, but they are all small. It was a limitation of cameras 117 years ago. There are some cool drawings inside the older books. This one was on the page introducing the students who put the yearbook together.

That was done by a guy named F. Roy Duncan, a senior. His blurb in the yearbook says he learned to draw in an English class there, and I’m not sold on his proficiency as an artist, or as an English student. But he becomes a talented engineer and architect. Born in Columbus, Georgia, educated at Auburn. He worked in Pittsburgh, and then on the Panama Canal. It seems he stayed down there for about three years, contributing to electrical, mechanical and structural engineering projects. And then he returned to Columbus.

Some six years after that photo was taken at school, he became an architect. Among his achievements are more than a half-dozen homes still standing in various historical districts (here’s one), the Taylor County (Georgia) courthouse and parts of this Columbus church. They all survive him, as did his wife, and this art. He had a heart attack while fishing and died, at 61, in 1947.

And so we’re going to have to look at these books. And all of the rest of the collection, over time. Because I also recently picked up a nice desktop document camera. These were the first three photos I took with it, and I’m pleased. It’s a little slow and awkward as I figure out the workflow, but it seems much better than trying to take a photo on my phone, emailing it to myself and then editing thing. At the very least I’ve got out two steps in the process. And so, next week, I’ll open a book and point it at the camera.

I think I’ll probably start in the 1940s.

But first, I have to add these two covers to the Glomerata collection on the site.

(Four minutes elapse.)

There, now the 1907 and 1912 volumes have been added to my Gloms cover collection. I’ve just noticed four or five other covers which haven’t been digitized, but I’ll get to them soon. And, as of this writing, these are the only ones I need to add to the collection: 1899, 1900, 1902, 1905, 1906, 1909, 1911, 1913, 1915, 1916.

Beyond a certain point, as you can imagine, they are difficult to find.

I just wrote 800-plus words about things that are only of interest to me! Let’s show you some diving photos, which I know you’ve been waiting for, patiently, and get you in to your weekend.

There is absolutely positively nothing like just … hanging there in the water. It’s so captivating that I spend time on most dives just watching other people do it. Like my dive buddy!

This is a shot-from-the-hip of a woman that was on one of our dive boats with us. She just happened to float over, or I swam under, or whatever it was, and I looked up. I love these shots, and I include it here as a reminder to myself to take more of them, which can only be done by more diving.

Dive boat dynamics are interesting. Unless you go as a big unruly group you’re surrounded by strangers. These are two-tank dives, which means you go out, take the first dive, and then enjoy another, all without having to return to land. For safety reasons that have to do with the chemistry of your blood under the mild pressures involved with reef diving, you take a surface interval. So you wind up talking to people. And they’re often just fascinating. This dive had a bishop from Miami, a high powered business man from Denver, this woman, who is in pediatric medicine and, of course, us. Plus there’s the captain and the divemaster, who is an underwater welder doing this in his free time. That’s an awesome amount of brain power on one little vessel, and also me.

So you wind up having some interesting chats. Usually it’s about equipment, things you just saw, how your diving has been, something innocuous from back home. It’s small talk. And you’re all the best of friends.

Except now I can’t remember anyone’s names.

I don’t know if she got to see this turtle. Not everyone on that dive did. But that’s the breaks. Sometimes you see the high profile sea life, and other times you hear about it and appreciate what you were able to find. But we found this giant turtle.

That’s easily a three-foot shell. Easily.

OK, that’s enough for now. Enjoy your weekend! (We’re getting snow.)

Feb 23

Just 83 years ago …

I have next to nothing today, but there’s always the weather! Before I woke up, some rodent had doomed us to more winter. The high here today was 39 degrees. The low was 19. It was sunny.

Why is it that some creature elsewhere determines my weather? Don’t I have any agency here? Of course, I don’t. The weather is a part of a global meteorological system barely within our understanding, and certainly beyond my control. But, really, the lack of agency is galling. Not me, but some critter that’d just as soon stay in his hole, honestly.

I know how he feels. As soon as I read about the shadow, I wanted to climb into a hole, or at least back into the blankets.

Groundhogs. What a silly, successful bit of marketing. We persist in this because it is fun, right?

And also tourism.

We haven’t looked back at the old college paper in a month. When last we had a look, we poked around in 1929. We’re jumping forward a bit today, to 1940. On this day, 82 years ago, there was a new committee that was formed to think about cheating. I wonder what they thought.

Oddly enough, this guy was on the same front page. R. Temple Greystoke was a man named Ray Price.

He started in the magic business in 1921, and can’t you imagine that was a challenging lifestyle. It begain with kids shows, a dog act and he eventually developed what is called a Spook Show, and became a famous and popular act through the 1930s. Soon after he played at Auburn he returned to a more conventional stage show. He moved home to Alabama when his health began to fail him in 1955. He passed away in 1973.

Dawson Mullen here, he was a BMOC. He was an electrical engineering manager, honor society member, he was on the mysterious leadership council of his time, president of something called the engineer’s council, colonel in the ROTC, captain of the rifle team. And, in this same issue, we learned he was on that cheating committee.

I’ll have to look ahead and see what, if anything, that august panel resolved. Anyway, Mullen, I believe, found his way to Georgia. If I have the right one, he died in 2001. There’s not a lot on him, however.

This bit of copy is a hoot.

The building being referenced here is, I assume, the Auburn Sports Arena. We called it The Barn. It housed basketball starting in 1946. Likely a project put on hold during the war?) The basketball team moved one block over in 1968. The Barn was right across the street from the football stadium. It housed the gymnastics team, it was old and scheduled for demolition. And then it burned to the ground during the LSU football game in 1996. (A different, better, story.) There’s a parking deck in that spot now.

We like to think of the 1940s as being a fully modern time and, in many respects, it was. They were still trying to get driveways paved and sidewalks pour on campus. The depression, in-state politics, and subsequent decades of inattention were just starting to be remedied.

Scandal! Bottom of page one! Oh … never mind.

Grady Young graduated from Georgia and then studied to be a vet, like his father before him. He had three kids and seven grandchildren, and he ran Young’s Veterinary Clinic in Georgia for 42 years before his retirement. He died in 2021, at 82.

Here’s a man that made an impression, and you get the feeling the multi-sport coach (they all coached more than one thing back then) was well liked and would be missed.

Dell Morgan died in a car accident, in Texas, in 1962. He’d spent the day watching his Rice players practice, and was headed out to go fishing with a buddy when another car crossed the center line. Four people were killed.

(I wonder if that tweed jacket ever turned up. That’s one of those mysteries that will stick with you the rest of the week.)

I love the old phone numbers. Dial 611 for flowers. Cracks me up. I don’t know anything about the florist. This isn’t the sort of history anyone on the Plains is good at making readily available, and contemporary florists using SEO has basically ruined any searches of this sort. H. L. Welsted, based on the ads, was around for at least four years, but, again, he falls in the analog canyon, but he is interred in Virgina. He passed away in 1961. The Welsteds had two children, Harry Lee, junior, and Mittie, who had just graduated from AU the year before. Harry the younger became a chemical engineer, and worked in New York and Charlotte. He passed away in 2010. Mittie studied dietetics, got married and died in 2002.

Here are the Welsted kids, from the 1939 Glom. They had long, and hopefully, full and complete lives.

Their parents ran a boarding house. Moved to Auburn and set that up, specifically, so the kids could get an education. That’s what Harry Lee Welsted’s obituary said. And while I learned one or two more things about the Welsteds, but not many, it is important that we don’t stray too far afield. Because that image above is really about the Grille.

I remember the Grille. Dined in it, frequently. One night a week they did a spaghetti plate dinner. If you finished it, they’d give you a second plate free. You could get in there, stuff yourself with two plates of spaghetti, a soft drink and a brownie for about five bucks, and that was one of the better, cheap meals in town. The walls were covered in local lore and history. And in that one particular booth is where the legendary football coach sat.

And then the rent got too high, and the Grille closed in the late 1990s and it still feels like one of the saddest things that could possibly happen in a place like that. We kicked ourselves that we didn’t eat there more — maybe we could have helped save it — but we are all starving and broke college kids and downtown was changing. Downtown was always changing, every so often.

My time was more than a half-century latter, of course, but I don’t have any knowledge of these places, either. Ball’s Bakery was in the neighboring town, but clearly everyone knew of it.

They stayed in business through the mid-1950s. Reed’s? Absolutely no idea. But with a “stay out of the cold” you have to think they had their moments. Winter moments.

The Martin Theatre was still relatively new. It opened in Opelika in 1938, with 1,600 seats, and lasted until 1970 or so. Martin replaced it with one in the strip mall. That joint was the barely-hanging-on dollar theater a quarter century later. I remember watching a few movies there.

The movie they were showing? Wonderful pre-war propaganda. The film highlights the real (and dramatized) exploits of a New York unit during World War 1. Also, the picture was just released the week before. In a time when movies weren’t in theaters everywhere simultaneously, it is amazing that this was on a screen in little Opelika, Alabama, six days later.

The Martin must have truly been the place to go.

Olin Hill? The man with the tape? He’s buried in nearby Notasulga. The headline in the (Mobile) Press-Register obituary was “Auburn clothier Hill dies.” Imagine all the things he saw from 1907 until 2003.