Addendum II to “Fit for a Goober”

David Whitten, one of the better men in folks i’ve met in my life and someone i consider a great friend even though we haven’t seen each other in nearly sixty years, pointed out i erred in this post. Of course, it wasn’t “Mrs.” Fahey. It was “Miss” Fahey. It wasn’t spell checker’s fault. It was mine. Too quick. Not thorough editing. Old man.

And Miss Fahey was the matriarch of Castle Heights Military Academy for years. It seems like forever. She cared for all of us, but man, could she rip you a new one if you stepped out of line. Terrific woman.

Thanks, David.

Phil  Turner, that town boy with such a pure jump shot, along with George Haynes, who graduated from Heights in the spring before i walked up that hill in 1962, were the alums who pointed out i had omitted one term for Heights cadets in my first addendum. In addition to “goobers,” the high school cadets became “geebers,” a label that does not exist in any dictionary i have checked. How it originated, i have no clue.

Thanks, Phil and George.

For further clarification, “town boys” was used interchangeably to classify cadets who did not board and those boys who did not attend at all

And while i’m at it, the balcony and only seating area in our wonderful gym had two bench seats, solid wood, not one as i described in the post. i got to thinking about that one (in these times, someone my age has time to think about such things), and i looked up some old photos of Heights cadets in the stands.

This, of course, led to me thinking about several other gyms. One i recall had less seating than Heights. It was on a mountain.

Heights regularly played Sewanee Military Academy and St. Andrews School in sports. Both were in Sewanee, Tennessee, atop Monteagle mountain and near The University of the South, one of the prettiest college campuses i’ve ever seen. The military academy as with nearly all of those which were across the Mid-South in my days is gone. St. Andrews, an
Episcopal school, is extant. i suspect they have new gym.

My first trip there was as a member of the Heights’ B-team basketball squad. With the varsity we rode up in the winter of 1960 with the varsity team. The varsity team was good, and looked even better. They had long-pant and jacket warmups. The JV’s had a pull-over tee worn over the uniform singlet and their shorts.

Normally, that would not be a problem. But the St. Andrews gym was tiny. It made the Heights gym look like Madison Square Garden.  There was no basement. There was no balcony. A 2×6 piece of lumber about five feet in length had been nailed at an angle roughly nine feet from the floor. This seating allowed two or three students to climb up and sit. Any other fans had to crowd in the available space on the floor not occupied by the team, coaches, scorekeepers, timers, and assorted hanger-ons. i’m guessing maybe twenty fans could be in the gym for a game.

That meant the visitor dressing rooms were about 100 yards away. The JV team had dressed and was ready to go the gym. Basketball shoes, shorts, and our pullovers. We opened the door and a blast of cold air smacked us in  our faces along with snow flurries. It had not been snowing when we alit from the Heights bus and entered the dressing room, but there was already about an inch of the white stuff on the ground for our traverse to the gym.

i can now testify it is difficult to run in Converse All-Star basketball shoes with a skiff of snow on the ground. But we made it. And we won. Handily, much to the chagrin of the dozen of students sitting on those 2×6’s.

This post is beginning to have no end. i have two more stories emanating from my original crazy thought, but i’ll save them until later.

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