Friday, April 26, 2013

R - U - D - E! RUDE!

*Look for a new posting every Tuesday and Friday*

As part of my recent "request for memories" of Catherine and James Neville, three of my classmates have all within hours of themselves chimed in with comments concerning a "conniption fit" that James Neville LeDuke threw at the beginning of one of his afternoon Latin Classes in 1960 or 1961.  For the benefit of those who may not have heard the story in its entirety, and in an effort to encourage many of you to include your own LeDuke stories, I offer my clearest recollection of the events leading up to Mr. LeDuke's outburst.

Lyle explaining to Ellis Truett the exact status of our class
A contributing factor to the story is the fact that the Latin Class in question was made up primarily of the infamous Class of '61.  Anyone who was in school within 5 years of this particular time knows that this group of students was without a doubt the "most special," the "most intelligent," the "most humorous," and the "most revered" by all the faculty in the history of good ol' THS.  If anyone doubts this just ask any one of the 33 members of the Class of 1961.  Now my dear sister Sue Hurst, who was in the class of '62, has told me on more than one occasion that we were also the "most conceited" class.  I really don't know why she thinks that.

How could this "Teddy Bear" have
shouted at his favorite class
Now back to the story being told.  James Neville, as has been told before, was a Rural Mail Carrier for the Post Office six days a week from about 7:30 in the morning until about 12:30.  Once he completed his chores for Uncle Sam, he would toss down a quick sandwich, play a few bars at home on the piano, and rush to the High School, usually in plenty of time to start his one o'clock Latin class to be followed by his two o'clock Science class.

On this particular day, Mr. LeDuke was running a few minutes late and probably took the stairs two at a time entering the classroom, undoubtedly in a state of mild ill-humor.  As he approached his desk he immediately realized that absolutely no one was acknowledging his presence.  The entire class, being teacher-less up to this point, was engaged in rather noisy, idle chatter.  After waiting several moments expecting this "extremely gracious" group to come to some sort of attention, and finding that his "mild state of ill-humor" was advancing toward critical mass, he exploded with his now famous statement.
Slamming the stack of books he was carrying down on the desk in the loudest possible manner, he shouted at the top of his voice: "You know everyone else on this faculty may think you are special, but I say you are just plain rude, R - U - D - E,  RUDE!!!!" 

You won't find one RUDE person here
I would give anything if there could have been a camera on the wall to show the look on every one's faces.  Shock and Awe.  And immediate SILENCE.  I am not sure if Daddy ever fully appreciated the effect his statement made on this group of young people.  They have had to go through their entire lives "cautiously" avoiding repeating this sort of "rudeness".  Thousands of dollars have undoubtedly been spent for therapy sessions. 

Carolyn Cantrell and Lyle Lankford
could not have been RUDE

Now the truth is that I do not remember exactly what happened next.  I know that Joy Butler was scared to death.  I know that because she just sent me a note telling me that of all her High School Memories the R-U-D-E "incident" is one of the most vivid.  Carolyn Cantrell also sent a note stating pretty much the same thing.  
A less-frightened Joy shown here
 was never RUDE a day in her life
And of course, Lyle in his letter just posted on Tuesday remembers the day well.

The only one in the classroom on that faithful day that was cool as a cucumber was me.  You see the "LeDuke Fit" that everyone had just witnessed was not a unique experience for me.  Now I don't want to imply that Daddy was constantly hollering and screaming in the presence of his family.  He absolutely was not.  BUT, as any one of my siblings would attest to, an occasional "fit of rage" was not unheard of.  These "fits" were never physical, always verbal, totally unpredictable, and almost instantly recognized by Daddy as absurdly humorous.

AAAAhhhh!!!  Coffee and Cigarette says it all.

 That's why I am sure that while I do not have the specific memory of the moments following the RUDE incident, I can almost guarantee the readers and my traumatized classmates that within minutes on that particular day James Neville had apologized to the class, told some funny story about an event from his morning that had started him on his path to rage, and had the whole class in stitches before the bell rang at 1:55. 

He didn't, however, erase the memory that is etched in the minds of a bunch of "forever 17 year old's" of why they were, at least once in their life, considered to be: "R-U-D-E" RUDE!!!!

******* POSTING  UP-DATE  -- This just in*********

I knew that I would hear quickly from someone who undoubtedly has better "memory cells" than do I, and sure enough Carolyn Cantrell ( who by the way is as beautiful today as she was as Carolyn Wyatt) has offered the following clarification.  Thank you CWC. 
Hi Jimmy, I just had to weigh in, regarding the Latin class incident (couldn’t help myself). J The more exact quote went like this: “You may be the ‘cream of the crop’to the rest of the faculty, but to me you are ‘RUDE’! ‘R-U-D-E’!‘RUDE’!! (He hit the desk with a book [some say it was his shoe??], as he spelled out each letter of ‘R-U-D-E’ and the final ‘RUDE’!).
I'm so glad I did not inherit any of those "pitch a fit" genes.  Richard must have gotten them all.


Now knowing that there were more "incidents" like this one that I would not have personally witnessed, or if you're one of the lucky members of the Class of '61 and have a different memory of that day,  I encourage you folks to share your memories either on the comment section of this posting for all to see or send them to me so I can include them at some future appropriate time. 

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