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Born May 18, 1953; got saved at Truett Memorial BC in Hayesville, NC 1959. On rigged ballot which I did not rig got Most Intellectual class of 71, Gaffney High School. Furman Grad, Sociology major but it was little tougher than Auburn football players had Had three dates with beautiful women the summer of 1978. Did not marry any of em. Never married anybody cause what was available was undesirable and what was desirable was unaffordable. Unlucky in love as they say and even still it is sometimes heartbreaking. Had a Pakistani Jr. Davis Cupper on the Ropes the summer of 84, City Courts, Rome Georgia I've a baby sitter, watched peoples homes while they were away on Vacation. Freelance writer, local consultant, screenwriter, and the best damn substitute teacher of Floyd County Georgia in mid 80's according to an anonymous kid passed me on main street a few years later when I went back to get a sandwich at Schroeders. Had some good moments in Collinsville as well. Ask Casey Mattox at if he will be honest about it. I try my best to make it to Bridges BBQ in Shelby NC at least four times a year.

Friday, April 14, 2017

Gaffney's Wall of Success

                            U P D A T E   

 It appears my letter was published in the April 19 issue of the Ledger. If you scroll to the bottom of this blog you will see editor Cody Sossamon original piece, the link. Looks like they are already on the right track.    

A few days ago I submitted the following letter to the Gaffney Ledger: 

      Ive only seen the teaser for the proposed Gaffney Successful Alumni initiative but like the idea. But for it to amount to something I think it needs community involvement. To that end would be grand if Gaffney High twice annuallly, in the fall and spring of the academic year have panels  of three on campus, for an assembly or presentation to the honors and  history club; and that evening have a community event with same members.

     Whether they are on the wall of success of just folks like myself who have spent a good time thinking about their experience in Gaffney and how it shaped a lifetime of rumination and anchored explorations,  for biggest bang for the buck involve the whole community including exhaustive followups and reports in the Ledger and the Chronicle.

   I suggest for these events to be informed the community should at a minimum do group readings of Joe Crespino's Strom Thurmond's America, Tim Tyson's easily googled essay Dynamite and the Silent South, Hochschild's Strangers in Their Own Land--the national book award finalist with a shoutout to Gaffney native WJ Cash; and the essay in Jumpn Jim Crow about the politics of Textiles in the Upstate in the 40's and 50's that shaped the Gaffney I knew in the 60s and 70s.

   In a few days I plan to elaborate on all this at my blog with suggestions there, nominees for Gaffney's Wall of Success.

    Stephen M. Fox, Gaffney native 62-78

     I am not a subscriber to the Ledger so it will be another three weeks until I can see the full original oped.

    Gaffney had a similar purpose about four years ago when they had a formal banquet and honored about a hundred notable folks who've stood out and had ties to Gaffney.

   So they have a good list to work from.

   For the initial class I have these four to five nominees.

      Libby Mitchell, Gaffney grad about 1963, Senior Class President who did well at Furman and married a striver well connected from Arkansas and went on to run for Governor of Maine a few years ago. She is the Aunt of Tim Childers who still lives in Gaffney and was a started on the Clemson National Championship Team of 1981 coached by Danny Ford

    2. My friend Johnny Dawkins Stellar running back of the first two years of full integration in Gaffney. Played football at Mars Hill and went on to Film school at Southern Call and wrote early script for Denzel Washington. Ed Asner loved Dawk and he was regular writer for St Elsewhere, Lazarus Syndrome and other ground breaking shows of the 80s and 90s including two ABC Afterschool Specials The Wave and The Hero Who Couldn't Read which starred Kareem Abdul Jabbar.

    3. Dawkins was one of two people Wayne Whiteside in the summer of 1971  told me and Rajesh Mehra that stood highest among the many notables he coached in his career with Bob Prevatte in Gaffney's Glory Days from the mid 50s to the 69-70 year. The other was Joe Wrenn who had a notable career in the Baptist pulpit from FBC Sevierville Tn, to Summerville Ga.  As Football was king in Gaffney and Whiteside was a legend himself in service to Pope Prevatte, I go with the Vatican on these two nominees for the inaugural class.

    I don't know where you place John Hamrick and Louis Sossamon and his wife Kat, but all three should be in the first or second class as it would be an initiation among equals in my estimation.

     There are many others to come. Off the top of my head Lori Crotzer of the Dance Department at Emory, Dee Gee Dale McElveen Jaeger who with her husband became head of one of the premiere Historic Preservations concerns in the Southeast certainly is among the cream of the successful crop as is Zack McKown, NY architect,  Nat Geo photographer Jaime Bernanke, and College of Charleston honoree, Rahul Mehra, Cleve Callison has made his mark in many arenas,  Jerry Shinn Charlotte Observer Editor; and of course the celebrities Andie Macdowell and Sidney Rice with LJ Peak not far behind.

    Marian Wright Edelman's connections to Gaffney should be recognized advancing her appearance at Limestone a few years ago on ML King Day.

    This is just the tip of the iceberg but the above I would think are no brainer candidates for initial classes.

   Come back to this blog in a few days, or I may do a followup as more is known and more nominees come forward.

   I do hope Cody or whatever committee gets behind this takes my advice about making these commemorations day long or two day events and trot them around several constituencies of the community.




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