The view of Lee High School from outside the bubble
Last summer, I wrote the following paragraph in a nostalgic column about my high school alma mater, the high school formerly known as Robert E. Lee:
“The band played “Dixie” — on windy nights, the melody wafted for miles beyond the stadium lights — and everyone clapped along.
One of my best friends — a woman who did not grow up in San Antonio — called me and read the paragraph aloud.
“And nobody saw anything wrong with that?” she asked, her voice dripping with doubt.
I was embarrassed, because that’s exactly how it was in that bubble. To my knowledge, very few of us thought of what the flag might symbolize beyond “Go Lee High, On to State, Robert E. Lee is Super Great!”
Truth is, not once did I Wish I Was in Dixie; I wished I was in college. In 1986, I spent too much time trying to figure out how I could dress like Madonna without being told to change my shirt. I daydreamed about getting a car, building a career and falling in love. I wasn’t being graded on social awareness.
This summer, things are different at the Legacy of Educational Excellence (LEE) High School, even though that parenthetical implies that change — however overdue — is taking its time. The school has a new name, a new mascot and, in December of this year, construction should be complete on a museum in the library offering the community a look at the past
“The idea,” said Aubrey Chancellor, executive director of communications, “is to show history of the school and the history of Robert E. Lee with the photos, documents and other things they have.” Anyone who wants to can come to the school, check in at the office and come in and look at the museum.”
But as is the case where preservation is concerned, there are always random bits and pieces of memorabilia that won’t make it into the museum for one reason or another: Folding chairs with the image of a confederate soldier on the seat. Megaphones stamped with the general’s name. A statue of the general, his head missing but his foam, once-green Incredible Hulk fists clenched in defiance. And lots and lots of T-shirts and yearbooks that never sold.
These pieces of the past, however, are going on the virtual auction block. Starting Monday, the items will be auctioned through govdeals.com, an online liquidator. The cyber auction will go through the end of the month so any alumni that want to hold on to a little piece of Lee as the school moves on as LEE.
That includes the surplus yearbooks that are set to be sold individually.
“The whole reason that were doing this online auction is that we heard from so many alums that are calling and asking about the items,” said Chancellor. “We really felt there was a desire from the alumni. We know how passionate they are about the mementos.”
Holding on to mementos is important because we get to relive the happy times. We see the pictures, we watch someone else wear the uniform, you hear the chant and you remember how cool things used to be. Stuff like yearbooks, T-shirts and even a mascot made of papier-mache are props.
Thing is, sometimes we’re having such a great time in the bubble, we don’t realize how it looks from the outside.