At this point I have to try to paint a picture for you of the surroundings. In the stairwell behind me there was a tall narrow window just at the midway landing. Through this window shown the light of the full moon down on concrete steps. This bright light allowed me to see the stairwell and the double auditorium doors across the hall very well. I could not see much down the hall to the right where the classrooms were and where I expected Harrison to be, or up to the left toward the room under the clock tower (now the band room). I could see the moonlight through the window at the far end of the hall to the right, but it did not light up the hall very much. As I lookd back at double doors in front, suddenly, the left door of the auditorium opened up about two inches in my direction. I assumed it was Penn letting me know where he was and that I should go through those doors. I put my right hand up into the moonlight and moved my fingers to show Penn that I wanted him to open the door a little wider so I could slip in without touching the door and, perhaps, making some unwanted noise. The moonlight behind me cast my shadow onto the double doors across the hall. Right then the doors opened up a few inches wider right on queue! I quickly moved across the hall and slipped through the doors and closed them as quietly as I could. I then moved along the wall to the right being careful not to trip over the rows of chairs in the auditorium. I stopped about halfway down the wall at the next hall door. I could see moonlight outside the wall of windows across the room. No moonlight shown into that room yet as the moon was still above the other side of Tallapoosa Hall. I had made no contact with Penn yet and wondered where he was. I pulled my out my Zippo lighter, lit it, held it up, and looked around the room for my friend. While I was looking I was whispering, "PENN? - - PENN? - - PENN?" I looked around the whole auditorium including the stage, I saw NOTHING, and there was NOBODY in there! With the lighter still lit I went back to the double doors and out into the hall. On the right side of that hallway, after you pass the stairwell is an indention where the wall stops and turns 90 degrees to the left for about a foot and then back to the right all the way to the end of hall. In the dim light form my lighter I could see Penn crouched down, almost sitting on the floor, in that indention in the wall. I put out my lighter and went over to Penn and asked him in a whisper why he came out of the auditorium. He told me he had NOT been in the auditorium and had NOT seen me until just then. Then we forgot all about scaring Lewis Harrison when I told Penn what had just happened to me. We both jumped up and cleared the stairwell in about three steps then flew out the front doors and became two little gray streaks of light heading for Russell Hall one more time!
You can bet Joe Penn and I never tried to scare Lewis Harrison again!
Background Information about the 1963-1964 School Year
by Brian V. Brunner('64)
You will note that chapter VI occurred in the 1963-64 school year.
Col. Wesley P. Smith was still president(a life long job). Gen. T. L. Futch was to go on as Commandant until his last year at LWMA - 1966-1967. The school had really improved and was getting better each year. General Futch put the school in the NDCC(National Defense Cadet Corp) program in 1962-63. He was also able to get the school into the JROTC(Junior Recruit Officer Training Corp) program in 1965-1966. He left us much better off than when Col Smith found him in 1959. Col. Smith was still trying to increase the number of students; pay off old debts; improve the buildings and add new ones; and trying to keep the school from going bankrupt, all at the same time. I'd say he did a great job. Col. Hovey is still doing the same things today and doing a great job too.
Notes about the buildings and campus of 1963-64: The first new thing you noticed was the big LWMA wall in the middle of the entrance. This was the first school year the wall was there. The buildings were: The house by the front gate, its top floor was used as the Infirmary. Col. and Mrs. Johnson(General Futch's in-laws - their wives were sisters.) lived on the ground floor. Col. Johnson was in charge of the building and grounds and Mrs. Johnson was the school nurse, and a good one too. Then up on the hill, starting from East to West, Tallapoosa Hall, Ross Hall(ground floor was still the dining hall. The top floor was now a dormitory.), Supply, Allen House(Pool Room and Canteen), Russell Hall(The ground floor still housed the Commandant's Office, CQ Office and the Day Room. The upper two floors were dorm rooms.), Friendly Hall, Ward Hall, and now the Brooks Rifle Range. This building, designed and built by Col. Johnson, is behind Ward/Howell Hall and a little to the west on the near side of the back road. The small repair shop/tool shed was still on the back side of the back road. During this time(1962-1964) in the Haunted House/Dr. Ward's house area Lt. Clinkscales(a teacher) had parked his small house trailer.
Note about Friendly Hall: This building was thought to be a fire trap and no student who had a smoking permit was allowed to live here. That's why most of the residents were 8th and 9th graders. Thus it became known as the "Baby Company" or the "Sandbox" - a term that is still used for the younger cadets dorm.
This was also the first year(football season) we used the new football field. We did not have to pick up rocks any more!
In the big space between Russell Hall and Friendly Hall, where Alabama Hall had once stood, was a sign showing a drawing of the new dormitory that was to be built on the site(now named O. V. Hill Hall). The sign displayed this: "Site of the new Cadet Dormitory, Housing for 80 cadets, Staff housing, Pool Room, Canteen and Supply Room." Construction on this building started before the end of the year. It replaced Allen House and Supply, and these two old buildings(built in the 1925-1928 era) were torn down in the summer of 1964.
Notes about the Cadet Corps: The school taught 8th through 12th grades. We had over 150 cadets at the start of that year! What a change! Russell Hall was 'A' Company, Friendly Hall was 'B' Company, Ward Hall was 'C' Company and Ross Hall housed the Band Company on the top floor. This was the first year the band was a separate company. The cadet officers were(At the beginning of the school year) Captains Harry Gill - acting Battalion Commander, Doug Dromey - 'A' Company Commander, Brian Brunner - 'B' CC., Thomas Eve, 'C' CC. Shepard Lindsey, Band CC. Lieutenants, Robert Rozelle adjutant & and drill team commander, Robert Bell - Platoon Leader & Athletic Officer, Matthew St. Clair - Armorer S-4, Robert Boyd - Battalion S-3 & color guard commander, Robert Bickerstaff - PL, William(Rusty) Beckham - PL, Diego DeSedas - PL, Charles Drawdy - PL, Alex Hardwick - PL, Pierce Harris - PL, George Pollard - PL, and Jacky Kennedy - PL. (All Officers were in class of 1964) More of the Battalion Staff were, S/MAJ Norman Curl('65) - Battalion Sergeant Major, M/Sgt Eddy Soto('65) - Supply Sgt. First Sergeants were Frank Wilson('65), Luther Gardner('65), B.O. Jennings('65), and Ian McKenna('65). Of course we had a bunch of SFC's - Platoon Sgts. S/Sgts - Squad Leaders and Cpls - Assistant Squad Leaders. Too many to name or remember now. By late spring after all the Captains (Except Shepard Lindsey, the band leader had to stay with the band.) had been "acting" B.C. for a month, General Futch promoted Doug Dromey to Major as permanent Battalion Commander. I was made the Battalion Executive Officer(XO) and George Pollard was promoted to Captain to command 'A' Company(My former job at the time). Charles Cook was promoted to 1st Lt. to replace George as a PL. By the grace of God and General Futch I graduated second in command of the cadet corps.
The dining hall was now a cafeteria. This change was made(in 1960-61) because we could not fit all the cadets in the dining room at the same time. It also did away with the table waiter KP duty.(We were all glad about that!) We had about 35 seniors, a five member Color Guard, the band had about 30 members and so did the crack drill platoon(named the Silver Rifles).
We had M1 rifles that we drilled with and we would take them to Fort Benning to fire on their range once a year. The drill team had M1903 Springfield bolt-action rifles that weighted only 6 1/2 pounds as opposed to 8 1/2 pounds for the M1 and they cost fifty cents each for the shipping. They were good for throwing around, as we did on the drill team.
A note to Mothers and Fathers: We never had any firing pins in the M1's or 03's except when we went to Fort Benning to fire the M1's. The school also had some .22 rifles that were used to teach us how to aim and shoot. They were always kept in the armory and we never handled them except to fire them on the school's two rifle ranges under the direct supervision of the military staff. There was no way we could have drilled with a rifle that had a firing pin in it.
L.W.M.A. is still a small school(even in 1998, 200-225 students), but very large in the education the students receive. Not only the classroom and military education, but the learning how to get along with other people; how to work together toward a common goal and taking pride in getting there; and how to depend on yourself and take responsibility. All of these things and much more go into the L.W.M.A education and experience. L.W.M.A. is NOT a military trade school to create little robots. It's a place to grow up and learn how to be an adult, and be able to go on to college. Those of us who went on into the military had a great advantage over those who had no military training. Quite a few went on to high rank, and have long careers. As I said that was not the main purpose of L.W.M.A., just a great side benefit.
Does THE Light Come Back On by Itself?
by Brian V. Brunner('64)
Late Spring 1964:
I had returned to LWMA in my sophomore year after being made to go to Mount Berry School for Boys in Rome, GA as a freshman. At that time I really wanted to be at LWMA, and nothing was going to scare me away. I became accustomed to whatever it was in Tallapoosa Hall and knew it would not harm anyone.
I was now a Senior and a Cadet Captain.(Yes, it can be done!) I had been a Company Commander('B' and later 'A' Company), Acting Battalion Commander, and now I was the Battalion Executive Officer(XO). My room was on the top floor of Russell Hall. I had the room on the front East end. When I wanted to go outside, all I had to do was go out of my room turn right, open the outside door, and I was standing on the top level of the fire escape facing the roof of Allen House. If the upstairs bathroom light in Tallapoosa Hall was on, you could see it from this location.
That night I had OD Duty(maybe for the last time), and I had to turn that light off again as usual. After I turned off all the lights and took the bed check report, I headed for my room. I needed to write some letters(Yes, after Taps, it was a bad habit I had.) so I took a chair out on the fire escape to use the outside light above the door. This was a Friday or Saturday night so Taps was at 10:30 p.m., and I was out there for a while. Around midnight I was just sitting there thinking what to write down next, when THE light came back on!
I bet you think I went up there to see what it was? Well, you're wrong. I did not want to know the truth that badly! I was going to graduate soon, so I thought I'd leave it to some underclassman to find out.
"Good-Bye, whatever you are!"