by Ray Collett
This is the last of the letters Mr. Harry Shamhart wrote in the 1990's...Mr Shamhart writes," I do not recall the year the high school building was constructed (probably while I was in Florida), however it was a "two story plus" brick structure. The ground floor housed the boiler room, sports locker and dressing rooms, and entry into the gym (mostly used for basketball). The main entry to the building was in a hallway connecting to the old grammar school. Class rooms were on this and the next level up. The Principal's office was located in the upper level of the hallway. I took as much math and science as possible; and as little language and other subjects as necessary.
Sports were of great interest; football and basketball were the only ones available. I worked out in both sports the freshman years and played in both for three years. Coach Ivan Donnely, (who also taught classes in high school) was there the first two years. ( I do not recall the name of the coach my last two years). Ray Graves, who later played for the UT Vols, coached at University of Florida and was Athletic Director there, played for Rockwood in 1934 and 1935. His father was a minister of the Methodist Church. Bowden Wyatt was playing on the Kingston High School team my last year. His position was "tackle" and I was playing "end". On offense it was my job to block him. I've never been "beaten-up" more than what he did to me that game. Kingston won by a rather substantial score. He went on to play for the Vols and later was head coach for the Vols.
Four teachers names stand out in my high school years; T.R. Eutsler, Principal, Prof. Middlebrooks, Mr. Fowler, and Miss Hearn. Miss Hearn taught math (all 4 of my years), Prof. Middlebrooks science, and Mrs. Fowler, Latin. Professor Eutsler did not teach subjects but gave great direction to teenagers. When we were into Geometry study, he challenged several of us "jocks" that he would "set-up" any who would score perfect on the final exam. The "set-up" was a milkshake at George's Drugstore. He bought three; 100's were scored by Kenneth Hicks, Bill Anderson, and me. Prof. Middlebrooks taught science. His instruction in chemistry and physics probably led me into my major, chemical engineering at Georgia Tech.
Christine Howard, my wife for 60 years, was a lifelong friend. We were in the same classes in most grades. Our parents told us we attended each others 3rd. birthday parties. We were in the same group that had parties together, went swimming together, belonged to the same church, etc. We began dating in our junior year and never stopped.
Writing my memories of growing up in Rockwood has brought moments of joy and sadness. I'm glad I did it. There are probably some inaccuracies in location of businesses, however they are my memories....Written fall 1999 Harry Shamhart."
Thanks a lot Mr. Shamhart, and thanks to Jo An Howard Gaines for sending them to me. Our memories sure need to be written down and preserved for the future generations. I was invited a week ago to the Roane County Writers Festival in Kingston and was surprised at the young people who are very interested in the "olden days". And like my grandkids, they are talking about the 1950's. Was THAT so long ago? Evidently it was. Please continue to send your memories to me so that we might share them and relive those days.
The Rockwood 2000 has their annual "Christmas Home Tour" coming up Dec. 5 and 6 2009.. Something new this year is students from the Rockwood High Drama club will be portraying some of our favorite teachers ( Mildred Lindsey, Robert Culvahouse and many others) visit the Rockwood 2000 website for details
Speaking of websites, several people have emailed me about a "Rockwood Memories" website to post pictures, comments, etc. With the help of Steve Scarborough, who hosts (link...) one has been set up and is now online. It doesn't cost the readers anything, totally free and is similar to facebook which is sweeping the country. While only Steve and I can upload photos that you send, anyone can post comments and whatever. Please check it out and enroll. It can develop into lots of fun....Rockwood Memories
Thanksgiving is right around the corner, hope it will be a safe and happy holiday for all of you.........Until next week, Ray
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