Gov. George Wallace's First Inauguration Parade
Story by Phillip M. Potts ('63)
Brian V. Brunner ('64)
Updated 1/15/2001 with photo from Samuel Chambers ('65)
Phil's Hot Note
by Phillip M. Potts ('63)
George Wallace was elected Governor in Nov. of 1962? (A question from Brian Brunner)..
Yes, he was sworn in Jan 14, 1963. I "think" a number of us marched at his inauguration.. Blurry but I remember standing on the streets of Montgomery admiring the young girls in the band ahead of us..
That led to this memory...
From: Phillip Potts
Date: 5/15/98 7:30 am
To: Brian Brunner
If this was a dream then the previous messages brought it to the forefront..
I am pretty sure that we did march in the inaugural parade, and I remember going to the Capitol building and going into the Governors office. I believe Captain Tapley was with us because of the following events..
It seemed we stood forever on the street waiting for the parade to start. I cannot remember if it was the drill team or just a contingent of us. What I do remember is that I was standing in front of the group.
Standing there idle for so long, we started eyeing the young girls in the band that was in front of us. With our sharp uniforms the girls of course were eyeing back. One girl in particular seemed particularly attractive and was occasionally making a small wave at me..
I remember the bus ride back.. The school was "Rockland" or something like that. Turns out that their bus was in front of us. Suddenly I heard "Hey Potts!, someone up here is looking for you". I ran to the front of the bus and the young girl was in the rear window waving..
The reason I think that Capt. Tapley was with us is that he became quite irritated and bluntly told me to get my butt back in my seat..
This gets better. There were of course not hordes of girls in Camp Hill or nearby.. Most dances were populated with "imports" from all over. Being the immature imbecile that I was, I was taken with this event and commence to do a pretty stupid thing.
I knew the name of the school and commence to write a letter to the school describing the events and asking if they would provide me with any information regarding this young girl.
A week or so later I had a discussion with a couple of folks that surprised me. Usually discipline was handled by General Futch. But I think there was a discussion about what this really was all about and it was decided to handle this poor soul (me) in another way.
I was down by the infirmary and Colonel Johnson and Mrs. Johnson called me inside. They sat me down and showed me a letter that had been received from the girls school with words like "Cease any and all communications".. and letting them know that it was not appreciated that LWMA cadets were pursuing their girl student. They talked calmly and without saying it conveyed the idea that this was quite a stupid move.
I have to say that when stopping to think, which we do not do in our youth at times, I realized that it was indeed not appropriate for sure.
I wish I had someone from 63 to remember this with me. At least the parade and such. Unfortunately, seems that all 63'ers have either passed away or are completely lost..
Brian's Cold Hand
by Brian V. Brunner ('64)
Brian's reply was...
From: Brian Brunner
Date: 5/15/98 11:42 am
To: Phillip Potts
This is what I remember about that Trip/Parade in Montgomery in January 1963.
1. It was COLD! This happened the same month you built the Iceman out in front of Russell Hall! We had to line up a long way from wherever the reviewing stand was located. I think there was a park on one side of the road, and houses on the other. It was so cold that the people living in those houses let us in to get warm while we were waiting for our turn to start marching. Too soon after that, Robert Rozelle('64), the Drill Team leader called us back outside. The parade was finally going to move. We started off with our rifles on our right shoulder. We stayed at Right shoulder until we arrived near the reviewing stand. We had on thin white cotton gloves, but I felt like my right hand was frozen to the rifle. I had no feeling in that hand at all! When we went to do the 21 count manual of arms, each time I grabbed the rifle with my right hand I felt like I was holding nothing but air. It's a wonder I did not drop that Springfield(1903) rifle right there in the street! I can only assume that we were all in about the same shape. I guess all our extra drilling paid off. I think that when Bob gave the "Fall Out" command I was numb all over. The old "Blue Goose" bus had to have felt warm after that.
2. You were the "B.C."(Battalion Commander) at the time! No wonder you were out in front of the Color Guard, Drill Team, and Band! And I guess that's why you got to go to the Governor's Office. (I don't remember that part at all.)
3. Captain Tapley was not only mad at you, but at all of us in the bus too. After we got back in the bus, someone noticed in the next bus to the right of us a couple kissing each other! That bus was parked about 200 feet away from us. Well, this someone said, "LOOK at that!" , and everyone sitting on the left side of the bus jumped up in the isle and bent over us on the right to get a better view. Of course the whole bus leaned over to the right, as we watched this young girl kiss the boy whose lap she was sitting on! That was one of the reasons Captain Tapley was upset. He made everyone sit down and we left shortly after that.
4. I'm not a member of the class of 1963, but I remember that parade! It was too cold to ever forget! I don't remember the letter writing problem you had, but it's a great story for the "Stories" page. I can almost see Col. Johnson's eyes smiling during the whole time he was talking to you.