'Easiest move we ever made,' couple says
That wrecked former entrance to Rockdale High School is a bittersweet sight for Jimmy and Ethel Throckmorton.
That high school building graduated its first class in May of 1956. Jimmy and Ethel moved into their house, across the street from the school entrance, in November of that year.
The house was virtually new. "We made the 12th payment on it," Jimmy said. A previous owner, with Alcoa, had transferred to another plant location.
Now the high school is being more than doubled in size in a mammoth building project that entails a complete new entrance facing down Childress Street toward US 69. The old entrance will be closed up and become part of the back of the building.
"I told Ethel we've lived in the same location for 53 years," Jimmy said. "And now we're moving from the front of the school to the back. Easiest move I ever made, for sure."
That is a pretty easy move, from 1204 Murray to 1204 Murray.
The sidewalks are also being reconfigured somewhat along the Murray side of the school. Those sidewalks carry a lot of sentiment for the Throckmortons. They had a very "special" son, Jerry, known and loved (and rewarded) as "the No. 1 Tiger fan" on several occasions by several different booster club organizations.
He also walked those school sidewalks to Tiger Field where he regularly, for years, ran the down box at Thursday night ga me s. A nd he was a vital member of the hurdle crews and keeper of the starter blocks (in a grocery cart) for the Tiger and Lady Tiger track teams.
"I don't know how many days and nights I watched those sidewalks, waiting patiently but vigilantly for him to return home," Ethel remembered.
Hard to believe it has been seven years since Jerry left us, in 2002. But his special spirit lives on with so many in this town as strong as ever.
"That new school is going to be something," Jimmy told me. "And maybe, just maybe, I'll be able to back out of my driveway easier around 8 a.m. and 3:30 p.m."