Posts Tagged ‘tucker tigers’


Gail Lineback

“That lipstick is too bright,” said my good friend Gail.

“Really? I don’t think so. Maybe I need to blot…”

“You can blot all you want, won’t do any good. The color’s too bright.”

I have had a lot of best-friends at different stages of my life. But when I think on my very best-friend, my mind will time wrap all the way back to the sixth grade at Tucker Elementary. I returned to public school mid-year after an on-and-off illness of four years. The first person to greet me at the classroom door was Gail.

“Welcome back Diane! I know you don’t know me, I’m kinda new, I’m Gail Lineback,” Gail said with a big smile. But I know you. I signed some of the get well cards. It’s okay if you don’t remember my name. If you get tired, let me know. I can carry your book bag. My father is a doctor, and he told me how to look after you,” Gail assured me, “I know what signs to look for.”

Before I could speak, she said, “My parents are divorced. I live with my mother and little sister, Little Nancy – just off Chamblee Tucker Road – not too far from where you live – just off Chamblee Tucker Road. I have an older sister Ellen; she’s moved out and doesn’t live with us anymore. My father has re-married and has another family. My mother has a boyfriend, but she probably won’t marry him. Little Nancy collects Barbie dolls…”

Gail could go on for hours. She was determined to be my friend, and did her best to look out for me. It was Gail that I talked to during the seventh grade dances. We were the two tall girls in the class. It seemed that all the boys were short and did not really grow tall until late high school. The most popular girls were short; makes sense. We would dream about how different our lives would be if only we were “short girls.”

High School came and Gail was still looking after me, on occasion, remarking about my skin tone. “You look pale, want something to drink? How about a piece of cheese? Maybe it’s your lipstick. It’s too bright. Honestly, Story, the birds know it’s you that’s coming down the road, when they see that lipstick.”

“Well, I look paler with lighter lipstick, Gail. When I look pale, they think I’m sick!”

“Just take it down a couple notches.”

“Well quite frankly, Lineback, I like this shade.”

“You need to get your eyes checked out.” And on and on the conversation went. Gail Lineback could never offend me, nor could I offend her.

In our eighth and ninth grade, we had Physical Education together. One cold morning after walking out to the practice football field behind Tucker High School, Gail said, “You look flushed, sit down, Story.” Gail instructed me as though she was a real doctor. “Here, sit on my purse so you won’t get wet.” She stood tall and gave a big wave to Miss Bell and Miss Curtis our PE teachers. They gave her the “yes” nod. “See, it’s okay, you sit here until you feel better.”

I was never allowed to run laps around the field with the other girls, I walked one lap. If I walked too fast, Gail would pass me and yell back, “Story, slow down!”

In the tenth grade, Gail and I did not have any classes together. She was also busy with drill team practice. It had been a while since I talked to her, so I decided to call her at home and catch up. I was met with an unfriendly voice.

“Well hello Diane.  Why the sudden burst of friendship?”

“What?”

“Diane, you haven’t spoken or had lunch with us in weeks.”
“I know I’ve seen you around, I know you’ve been busy with the new girl…”
“Of course, I’m busy with the new girl. I want her to feel welcome. You should be busy making her feel welcome. By ignoring your friends, you make her feel unwelcome. She thinks you don’t like her.”

“Oh no, I didn’t mean to do that. I’ve been busy and thought y’all were doing a good job taking care of her…”

“That should never be the case. You should go out of your way to speak to a new person; have lunch with her.”

“You’re right, I just didn’t think…”

“Dee Dee’s funny. You’d really like her. Join us Monday in the lunchroom, you know the table.”

Gail was serious about her friends. I was very fortunate to be included in that list. The other thing she was serious about was her French. If ever she had a moment to spare, she had her nose in that French language book. Her accent needed to be “authentic.” She wanted to impress her father and make her mother proud. She worked hard to strive for perfection.

We graduated from high school and went our separate ways. I found myself soon married and living in the Canal Zone where my husband urged Green Berets to jump out of helicopters into the jungle; jungle training for Viet Nam. Afterwards, my life became focused on my two sons. Gail became a school teacher. Her life became focused on her children; her students.

I saw her once at a THS reunion. Gail met me at the door. She was still pretty, but I was concerned about her eyes since she wore glasses with very thick lenses. She was married briefly to a British man.

“What? Not French?”

“No,” she laughed, “but he could sure speak French! It was an authentic accent! I couldn’t resist. Oh, by the way Story, your lipstick is too bright.”
Gail missed the next reunion.

The years slipped away quickly and again, I prepared for another class reunion. Hopefully Lineback would come to this one. I would look for her at the door and this time, I would introduce myself to her. I was certain she would not recognize me since the years had changed me so much.

When we graduated, I was five seven and weighed just under a hundred pounds. My dark brown hair had given way to — shall I say — platinum blonde. Some would say — almost white. My Twiggy short hair was grown out pony-tail length. I had gained over forty pounds. No one would recognize me tonight, not even Gail Lineback.

I walked in alone – divorced. Before entering the ballroom, I looked for my senior photo button pin. I walked about a long table looking for it. As I made my way around the table, I happened to look up and saw Gail’s photo framed – on the Memorial table. My heart almost stopped and I could hardly breathe. I walked over and stood before her smiling face. As I looked at her smile, I had a silent conversation with her.

“You’re still meeting me at the door, girlfriend…”

I had seen enough. Just as soon as I get my bearings, I will turn and walk out that door. I will slip out and not talk to anyone. There were a few people about, but no one had spoken to me yet. I’m sure no one has recognized me. I wanted to get out of there as quickly as possible. I was not prepared for this. Why had I not heard about her death? Why couldn’t I have been a good friend and stayed in touch?

“Diane, here is your pictured down here!” called out Brenda Martin from the other end of the table.

Steve McLeod walked into the hallway from the ballroom, “Diane! I thought I saw you come in.”

How in the world did they recognize me? I know I look like a stranger.

 

Then I thought…uh oh! I need to check my lipstick. I hear you girlfriend!

As I walked down the hallway to the lady’s room, I thought, I don’t want to appear unfriendly to my friends. I will finish in here, and then I will enter the ballroom, where I will speak to each and every friend here tonight.

Yes, Lineback, I still hear you – loud and clear!

 

AJC Obituary 2007: Gail Lineback was an artist, a teacher, and an avid and accomplished gardener. She pursued a wide range of interests, including St. Matthew’s Handbell Choir and Cajun dance. She was active in the spiritual communities at St. Luke’s Episcopal and St. Matthew’s Episcopal churches. She was a passionate advocate for women and families in need, giving generously of herself. She will be remembered fondly by friends and family. In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made to Family Promise, to Bethesda Elementary Care Team, to the American Heart Association or the American Diabetes Association.

And Gail Lineback was my best friend.

Horace Lawton Story sat on his front porch watching his grandchildren play with a puppy. Though he was a giant of a man, six foot – five inches tall, he had a gentle soul, and always interested in the well being of his grandchildren. He was lovingly known as PaPa Story.

Today, in this story, he had nine grandchildren with seventeen more to come. PaPa had a problem with asthma and had given up farming on Old Norcross and the Britt Road area. He now lived in a smaller home on Adrian Street.

“Frances, come over here for a minute. I want to talk to you,” said PaPa Story. “Here, sit here on my lap,” he said as he picked her up. “You can go back and play with the puppy in just a minute.”

“Okay, PaPa,” answered little Frances Sexton.

“You know, Princess, school is very important. At school you can learn how to read and write, learn arithmetic. And do enjoyable things like reading maps. I can sit right here on my front porch in this rocking chair on Adrian in Tucker Georgia, and study places all over the world – see how to get from here to there. That’s what I can do, because I can read. Look here, see this map? I’ve been studying it all day.”

“Yes, PaPa, I see it.”

“Look there, that’s Great Britain – London. The King and Queen of England live there,” PaPa Story said as he pointed to the map.

Horace Lawton Story’s other grandchildren took note of the conversation. They stopped petting the puppy, and focused on PaPa’s rocking chair. They surrounded him as they jockeyed for a position to eye the map.

“Real kings and queens live there, don’t they PaPa?” asked Ann.

“Yes they do,” answered PaPa Story.

“And real princesses?” asked Elizabeth.

“Yes, real princesses, Pheobe,” said PaPa Story.

“One day I’m gonna fly over there on a plane,” added Wayne.

“How far away is London PaPa?” asked Elizabeth.

“Well let’s see, here with this scale, we can figure it out,” said PaPa, happy to have stirred the intellectual interests of his grandchildren. “Pheobe, if I figured it right, about forty-two hundred miles.”

“Yes, you’d have to go by plane for sure!” added Junior.

“You could go by boat,” suggested Ted as he pointed to the Atlantic Ocean.

“But it’d take a long time!” said Gene, “Forty two hundred miles!”

“Yeah, that’d be a lonnng boatride!” said Ted.

“I’d go by plane,” said Junior, “even then, it would take a long time to get there.”

“A plane is the only good way to go – now a days,” said Wayne.

“You’re exactly right, boys,” laughed Papa, “that’s a long way from Tucker Georgia!”

Wayne, Gene, Horace, Junior, “Uncle Tom” Story, Rachel, Ann, Frances, Elizabeth and Ted

“And see there,” PaPa pointed north of England, “there’s Scotland. That’s where the Story’s are from. If you’re a Story – you’re Scottish!”

“But my last name is Graves,” said Junior.

“Mine too,” said Ted.

“And my last name is Sexton,” added Frances.

“No matter, your mothers are Storys – that make you Scottish! Any grandchild of mine is Scottish! Don’t ever forget that. Know who you are. The Storys are from Umberland, Scotland. Your grandmother’s family was from Bentleyville, England.”

“Did you meet her there?” asked little Rachel.

“No, Rachel, I met your grandmother while we were in school in Lincolnton Georgia. Nancy Elizabeth Bentley and I were childhood sweethearts. Our families had long left Scotland and England when we met. Your grandmother was a blue blood…”

Nancy Elizabeth Bentley 1886 – 1938

“Is that why you call us your blue bird specials?” asked Ann.

PaPa laughed and said, “Something like that, Blondie.”

“Frances, do you see how important it is to go to school? You can learn about other countries and figure out how many miles away they are. You may want to travel one day…”

“I can read, but I don’t know how to read maps yet,” answered Frances.

“Well, a good education is important.”
“I know PaPa…”

PaPa Story looked about at his other grandchildren and said, “Why don’t you all go play with that puppy. He’s lonesome.” As they scattered about, he focused on Frances.

“Well, what’s this I hear about you crying every morning when you go to school?”

I can’t help it PaPa…”

“Are you afraid of someone at school?”

“No sir, I’m not afraid.”

“Is your teacher too hard on you?”

“No PaPa.”

“Is your school work too hard?”

“No PaPa.”

Horace Lawton Story 1886 – 1963

“Well, Princess, you need to get up every morning, and be happy to go to school.”

“I know PaPa, but I can’t help it…”

Horace left the puppy with the other children and walked back over to Frances and PaPa Story. PaPa acknowledged his grandson.

“Horace, what’s this I hear about Frances crying all the way to school? I understand you walk with her to her classroom.”

“Yes sir, PaPa, I don’t mind. I just hate to leave her crying.”

“Horace Story, you’re a good man!” Papa Story encouraged his grandchildren to look out for each other, and was proud of Horace. Then PaPa focused on his little princess again, “Frances, you must tell me why you cry every day. Is it because y’ Uncle Tom gives you  notes to give to Helen Voyles? And maybe you don’t want to do that?”

“No sir, PaPa, I like to take notes to Helen from Uncle Tom. Helen is very nice and I like her. I look forward to seeing her. She’s very pretty and she always gives me a hug. Her friends are nice to me too.”

“Well, Frances, do some of the older kids tease you? Tucker School can be a big place for such a little girl.”

My parents courting days, Tom Story and Helen Voyles

“No, PaPa. I like all the people at school.”

“What do the notes say? You know, the notes y’ Uncle Tom sends to Helen…”

“I don’t know, PaPa. The notes are addressed to Helen and not me. I would never read someone else’s mail.”

“I see. You have integrity. That’s honorable.” PaPa thought hard for a moment, “Well, do you do your homework?”

“Yes, PaPa, I do all of my homework. I’m a good student. I make good grades.”

“Well, my goodness! Why in the world do you cry every morning? From what I understand, you cry from your house to the bus stop, you cry all the way to school on the bus, and you cry all the way from the bus to your classroom. Princess, tell PaPa why you cry.”

“I can’t help it PaPa,” said Frances, “I don’t want to cry…”

Tears ran down Frances’ cheeks just thinking about it.

“It’s okay Frances,” said Horace as he quickly jumped to his cousin’s rescue, “Please don’t cry, Frances. I’ll walk you to your class every day. It’ll be okay, PaPa, I don’t mind. I can take care of Frances.”

PaPa hugged Frances and said, “I don’t want Frances to cry either. But for the life of me, Princess, I cannot figure out why you cry going to school every day…”

“B-Because,” snubbed little Frances, “I – I – I don’t want to leave —– Rachel. I don’t want my sister to be left alone.”

“She’s not alone. Miriam — your mother — is with her. Princess, is that why you cry every day? You don’t want to leave your little sister?”

“Yes, Papa, it breaks my heart to leave Rachel. She has no one to play with…”

PaPa hugged Frances and gave her a kiss on the head, “Frances, you just may very well be – a real princess!”

 

Surname STORY Notes:

The surname STORY is an Old Norse “Stori” word which means “big” or “strong,” and “water.” The earliest known Norse settlement in which the first Storys can be found, took place in the 9th Century north of Carlisle near the Solway Firth in Scotland.

Later the Storys can be traced to Northern England, particularly Yorkshire.  The Storys were a sect of the Scottish Clan Ogilvy. The Storys own coat of arms was given to them by Richard II of England.

A bloody feud in the 16th Century, forced the Storys to migrate from Carlisle to Northumberland, “Umberland,” as Papa Story always stated. That region is in north west England on the Scottish border and is now known as the Lake District.

Well known “Peter Rabbit” author, Helen Beatrix Potter, purchased the Lake District little by little, with the sale of her books. Christmas day 1943, Beatrix Potter’s husband, Willie Heelis handed a container filled with his wife’s ashes to her lead shepherd, Tom Story. Tom Story later spoke of that day. “I’d promise her I’d scatter them. Nobody else knows of the place, not even her husband. We’d discussed it several times. I spoke to her the night before she died. So I got up from my dinner and went off to scatter them in a place she’d chosen.”

 

The Clan

The Storys were a sept of the Ogilvy Clan. The Ogilvy motto is “A Fin” which means “To the End.”

Early 15th Century, Sir Patrick Ogilvy commanded a Scottish regiment fighting with Joan of Arc.

Lord Ogilvy joined the 1715 Jacobite Uprising and raised a regiment in support of Bonnie Prince Charlie (Charles Edward Stuart) in 1745.

Clementine Ogilvy Hozier, wife of Winston Churhill, was a descendant through the female line of David, 6th Earl of Ogilvy.

The present Chief served as Lord Chamberlain to Queen Elizabeth II. Angus Ogilvy, the Chief’s brother, married Princess Alexandra.

 

STORYS:

Edward Story died 1503, English Bishop

John Story 1504 – 1571, English martyr

Elias Story came to America on the Mayflower in the care of Edward Winslow

Joseph Story 1779 – 1845, American lawyer and Associate Justice of the Supreme Court (1811 – 1845) nominated by James Madison

Liz Story born 1956, American pianist

Ralph Story 1920 – 2006, American radio and television personality

Riz Story born 1973, American composer

Samuel Story 1752 – 1811, Dutch naval commander

Thomas Waldo Story 1855 – 1915, English/American sculptor

Thomas Story 1670 – 1742 English Quaker convert and close friend of William Penn, 1706 elected mayor of Philadelphia, but paid 20 pound fine for declining to serve, preached 16 years in America, returned to Great Britain 1714

George Warter Story 1664 – 1721 Older brother of Thomas Story the Quaker, served as chaplain to William of Orange and the Countess-dowager of Carlisle at Castle Howard, England, grew up in Justice Town near Carlisle, Cumberland

Tim Story, film director

Walter Scott Story 1879 – 1955, American author

William Wetmore Story 1819 – 1895, American sculptor

Horace Lawton Story, Sr. 1886 – 1963, Awesome grandfather

 

Historical information came from Wikipedia and Family

“Now Diane, I want you to take this and put it in a safe place. I want you to have this,” smiled Mama as she tried to hand me one of her porcelain what-knots, three little white kittens – two kittens side by side on the bottom and one kitten stacked up on top.

“No, Mama, that’s yours.”

“Well, I know it is, but I want you to put it in your secretary in your living-room. It’ll be safe there. I have too much stuff around here. It could get knocked over and broken. I’m too old to look after all this stuff…” Mama shook her head as though she was overwhelmed with her house. Then smiled while a far-away dreamy look took over her face, “Yes, I remember the day I got this pretty little thing. I wouldn’t take nothing for it. I got it at your Aunt Bonnie’s house, you know, the old Henry Cofer home place.”

“Really?”

“Yes, Bonnie and Lawton Story gave me a bridal shower – back in about – 1946. And this was one of my gifts.”
“Who gave it to you?”

“I wish I could remember; I’m sorry to say I don’t. That was sooo long ago. But I do remember unwrapping it and opening the box. I held up the little kittens and looked into their faces. I knew in my heart of hearts, that one day I would have three little kittens.” Mama sat there quietly gazing at her little kittens for a few minutes. I do believe she was at Aunt Bonnie’s home in her mind and was not yet ready to return. Finally she spoke, “Yes, I knew I would have three little kittens – as pretty and sweet as these little kittens. I knew it, and I did.”

THS Prom Night, Patricia and Tommy Story

“Mama, I hate to tell you but, you had four little kittens.”

“No, Diane,” Mama perked up and spoke confidently with a twinkle in her eye, “I had three kittens —- and a Tucker Tiger.”

A Tucker Tiger indeed!

It was the “three little kitten” for many years before the Tucker Tiger was born. My father always teased us “three little kittens,” by calling us his “boys.” Patricia, Diane and Barbara were called, Pat, Donnie and Bob by our father. When we three sisters were fourteen, twelve and ten, another baby was on the way to the Story home.

It was a cold January morning with snow, ice and power lines on the ground. The three sisters peered through the windows, and watched Mama and Daddy walk gingerly on snow and ice to the car. We watched the car tires spin and slide on ice as Daddy fishtailed up Morgan Road, and thought how in the world will they make it all the way to downtown Atlanta? And would they make it in time? A challenging day with the elements and time issues; this was the kind of day my brother, Thomas Jonathan Story, Jr., decided to be born.

And what a welcomed sight Tommy was! We were all elated to have a little boy in the Story house, a first! We could not stop looking at him! Daddy could not wipe the smile off his face, and teased us often as he said, “If I had known y’ mother was having a boy, I’d a picked her up and carried her across that ice!” He would then burst out with laughter, and we all joined in on the fun. Then we would quickly go back to our obsession of looking at our new little brother.

That little baby boy grew up with three sisters watching over him – at least one sister no more than four feet away at any given time. Though on several occasions, I have heard Tommy say, “Sisters? I don’t have any sisters; I have four mothers.”

And he is just about right!

And for all practical purposes, Tommy was an only child. But not even that stopped him from playing his favorite sport, football.

Little Tommy kicked a football up in the air as far as he could, and then ran to the other side of the front yard to catch the descending football. He got so good at beating the ball; he made a game out of counting how many seconds it took the ball to land in his arms. And the higher he kicked the ball, the more seconds he racked up. No one ever had to look outside to check on my little brother while he played football, because you could hear the thump of his left foot kicking a leather ball – about every two minutes. This went on for hours, days, months and years.

Fitzgerald Field, (named after Charles Fitzgerald), was the place Tommy put his hard work to good use. My father never missed a practice or a game. I received a telephone call from my proud father to tell me about a Saturday morning football game at Fitzgerald Field.

“Donnie, you should see your brother at that football field. ‘Never seen anything like it.  This morning he kicked a forty-five yard field goal. He’s just twelve years old. They don’t even ask the Falcon’s to do that.” Our father was so proud of his son. And sadly, that was the last football game Daddy ever saw Tommy play.

That phone call was the last time I heard my father’s voice.

That following Friday, on an October day, my father fell from the roof of the Avondale Elementary School. He was up there piecing together a new section of roof with the old section. The day after his accident, my brother had a Vikings game scheduled at Fitzgerald Field. Mama told Tommy he could stay home, stay at the hospital, play the game, or stand on the side line with Coach Doug Smith. It was his decision. After careful consideration, Tommy said, “I’ll play ball for Daddy.”

Mama and my two sisters, Patricia and Barbara, along with a host of family and friends, stayed with Daddy. My husband, Jim, and I took Tommy to Fitzgerald Field. Jim walked the sidelines, because he wanted to be close to Tommy in case he changed his mind. Jim clapped and cheered the Vikings on. I was glad Jim was there, because that’s where Daddy would be if he could.

I sat there alone on the bleachers looking about at that gorgeous autumn morning. It was a perfect day in every way, except for the fact that my father was in intensive care on life support. I thought how strange it is that the world continues on so beautifully, during a time such as this. I froze my tears and plastered a smile on my face. I can’t tell you who won, because I don’t remember. The whole game was a blur, but I do remember that every time my brother jogged out on the field to kick the ball, I stood up to applaud him.

After the game, we returned to the hospital, and waited for the inevitable. My father went to live – Up Yonder.

Each boy on Tommy’s football team honored Daddy by wearing his purple Vikings football jersey to the funeral. They sat together as a team, and as a team, they were the first to follow the coffin out of the church. The team, coaches and parents were of great emotional support to Tommy and our mother throughout the remaining football season and many years to come.

It was a difficult time for the whole family, but especially for Mama and Tommy. Mama had to learn to drive a car, and to become an independent woman. Tommy stayed busy in after school physical education where he excelled in running techniques and hitting hoops. Staying after school helped Tommy keep busy until Mama came home from work – that way – he did not have to enter an empty house – alone. And now, Tommy Story had completed his Tiger training and was ready for Tucker High School.

And what a high school career Tommy Story had! He was on the Tucker Tigers Basketball Team in his eighth, ninth, tenth, eleventh and twelfth year.

He was on the Tucker Tiger Track Team in his eighth, ninth, and tenth year. Tommy loves to run. He knows every mile of jogging trails in Tucker like the back of his hand. And to this very day, runs up to the top of Stone Mountain just for grins.

And last but not least, Tommy Story played his heart out as a kicker for the Tucker Tigers Football Team in his eighth, ninth, tenth, eleventh, and twelfth year. In the ninth grade, he played first string Varsity Football as a kicker. Many articles were written about him in the AJC, local Tucker and Dekalb County newspapers. And Tommy was awarded the honor of All County and All State his Junior and Senior year.

Tommy graduated with the THS Class of 1980.

Mama supported Tommy by attending all of his games – that is except basketball. At first she thought she would enjoy basketball more than football. “Oh I just can’t wait to see Tommy play indoors! I won’t have to sit out in the cold air – through rain, sleet and snow! These Tucker people don’t have any quitting sense! They’d play football in the middle of a tornado,” Mama laughed. “Basketball will be sooo much better.”

That is what Mama thought until three minutes into the first basketball game. And she had a lot to say about that game.

“I sat on the floor level. I decided to let those younger mothers climb those bleachers. There I sat – as close to the center as possible; I wanted to see y’ brother up close and personal play basketball. All of a sudden – a whistle blew. Like to have scared me to death! I couldn’t take the noise! The yelling —- the screaming! The boys running making their shoes squeak! And that ball bouncing around —- echoed inside my head. It was just too loud! And there was too much pushing and shoving going on. And the referees didn’t do a thing about it. It was too rough. I prayed – Please Lord – don’t let these boys get hurt; this is so dangerous! And the little cheerleaders – they need to get out of the way. I wouldn’t have a daughter of mine in the middle of that mess.”

Mama rolled her big brown eyes and swallowed hard, “And then, another whistle blew – lonnng and loud! Somebody was down! A boy was hurt! I could‘ve told ’em that was gonna happen! I couldn’t see who it was, ‘cause so many were standing around the poor hurt soul. Then I looked down and saw your brother’s foot sticking out from the crowd! It was Tommy! I wanted to go down there, but y’ brother told me not to get on that court for any reason. He told me it didn’t matter if he died; I was to stay off that court.”

Mama teared up a little just thinking about it. She wiped her eyes with her dress tail, “I held my breath and prayed. Please Lord, let Tommy walk again, let the boy live. That crowd of folks stayed bent over him for such a lonnng time. It felt like an eternity. But finally —- they carried him off the court.”

And then Mama became a little bit outraged, “And they blew that blamed whistle again! I couldn’t wait for that game to get over. I told myself, Helen, if you ever get out of here, you’re never coming back!”

And Mama kept her word to herself; she did not attend another basketball game. But she found other ways to support her basketball playing son by selling tickets, baking cookies, pies and cakes. Mama never missed a pancake breakfast, and always supported the Tucker Tip Off Club. Her tickle box turned over every time she slipped the cheerleaders into Tommy’s bedroom to hide candy in his dresser drawers, and color his room in a sea of maroon and gold balloons and streamers. She also made terry-cloth tiger outfits for her grandchildren to be little Tucker Tigers.

Mama was proud of her Tucker Tiger! She never missed a football game!

On a beautiful autumn evening in Briarcliff at Adams Stadium, my two sisters and I sat with Mama at a Tucker High School football game.  It was a perfect night in every way. But strangely, I became overwhelmed with sadness as I watched my brother jog out onto the field to take his punting position.

Tommy took his time as usual to size up the situation. Now he was ready. His arms by his side, fists clenched, upper body bent forward, he stood frozen, the way he does when he blocks out everything – except for the football. The snap was good and Tommy had the ball in his hands. He paused for a moment, took a couple steps, and then put his left foot into the football. The crack of leather was the only sound made except for the crowd’s gasp. The ball soared up into the sky, past the lights and out of sight. That ball went waaay – Up Yonder.

I leaned into Mama’s shoulder and said, “I wish Daddy could see him now…”

Mama spoke with conviction, “Oh he sees him! Tom Story knows what his son is doing, believe you me! In all these years, he’s never missed a practice or a game. Y’ Daddy’s got a front row seat!”

About then the football fell back into view, and the spell was broken. The Tigers were deep in enemy territory. The crowd stood and roared in unison while the Tucker Tiger Marching Band played. The Tucker Tiger Drill Team and Majorettes danced. The children dressed as tigers clapped their little hands. The Tucker Tiger Cheerleaders jumped into formation and cheered their hearts out. It was pure magic!

Mama stood and we three sisters stood with her, as we followed her lead.

GO TIGERS! GO – YOU MIGHTY – MIGHTY TIGERS!

Little Tiger Kimberly Logan, Tommy Story's niece

 

 

Action shots taken at THS practice field – courtesy of Nona Boyd AJC 1979. Click on photo to enlarge.

 

Note: In 2008 our dear mother passed away and we have not been able to locate the newspaper articles of Tommy playing football. If you have an article or any action shots of him, and would like to share, please email: story@tuckerdays.com I want to post them for this Story! Thank you!