Book Cover

Thursday, July 26, 2007

The Boys From Rome Remembered

Dear Mr. Goodwin,
I remember too well that tragic morning in December, 1946, when the five girls in our family and our parents were gathered around our radio in a state of shock, as we listened to the sad news of the raging fire at the Winecoff Hotel! We were so worried about the eight wonderful Rome High boys, their Hi-Y advisor, Mr. Hamil, and his son, Richard, who were staying there, while attending the annual state Hi-Y convention there!

Rome was smaller then with only two high schools, Girls and Boys, both close together. The students all knew or knew of one another, especially these outstanding people. Lamar Brown was a member of our church, South Broad Baptist, and I believe he was an only child. "Buzz" was a fellow band member and captain of our marching row; although I was younger, he was so kind to me! His sister, Jane was my age, and she and sister Joyce were band members also. Billy Walden was a brother to our aunt by marriage Mary Warren, and was an outstanding football player! I did not know Charles Keith well, only by reputation-- all good! I believe he was a nephew to another aunt by marriage, Nilla Warren.

That day, Rome lost four of the best. Four, who had wonderful futures ahead, as they planned on graduating and heading for college. We cried as we heard the terrible news, and the entire city was united in grief and mourning! In spite of the pain, we praised God for the miracle of Mr. Hamil's escape over to the roof of another building with Richard clinging to his back, an impossible feat under normal circumstances! Later, I was blessed to have Mr. Hamil for a Sunday School Teacher at South Broad Methodist; he was a mentor, friend, example and Christian gentleman! I can only imagine the profound influence he was to all of the young people he touched in his role as teacher and principal.

At our last KEG Meeting, I was thrilled to hear Anne Culpepper present the plans for the new memorial in Rome. I wanted to have a small part and share precious, though sad memories!

I consider it a blessing to have grown up a Roman and will always appreciate the fine teachers, Mr. Derrick, our band director, and all of those who were positive influences and good role models in my life!

God Bless.
Jane Briggs Allen.