Hixson Native Jimmy Locklear Publishes Detailed Book Of Hometown Memories

Sunday, December 12, 2021 - by Jim Ashley

Anyone who grew up in Hixson during the fifties and sixties will love Jimmy Locklear's latest book Schoolboy, Living a Big Life in a Small Town.

An Atlanta-based author who grew up in Hixson, including Hamillville, Locklear has written and had published nine books, including his most popular Sacred Heart Attack: A Dramatic Account of an American Heart Attack Victim in Montreal.

 

Schoolboy, however, is more than a book.

It is also a meticulous diary of the author's life in Hixson that he recalls vividly in descriptive words and active verbs that make his story come alive. The book's voluminous detail is remarkable and will actually amaze the reader.

Among those details are dozens of names of people, including teachers and coaches, who grew up in Hixson during the fifties and sixties that actually appear like a Who's Who in Jimmy Locklear's life. Not surprisingly, my oldest sister, Wanda, and I are among those who lived in Hamillville on Crescent Club Drive, where Locklear also lived for a while with his family in the late 1950s: “The Ashley's – Jimmy and Wanda – lived across the street, and Rodney and Danny Crye lived a couple of houses down the street.” 

Hamillville, Locklear notes, “included a country store that we could ride our bikes to and buy cokes, peanuts and candy bars.” That store was located at the intersection of Crescent Club Drive and Hamill Road. 

 

Across from the store was Cliff Adams' tiny Esso gas station and not far up the street near the railroad crossing was Robbie's Barber Shop, which was built in the mid sixties.

 

Among the names of other friends and neighbors on Crescent Club Drive, Locklear writes, “lived Chuck Thornton, Gail Wilson, Steve Bearden and Robert Young.” All of whom, noted the author, “rode on the school bus driven by “Tooter” Marshall at some point.”

“Tooter” also drove the bus for the Hixson Wildcats football team to all away ball games, and Locklear notes that fact later in his book when writing about his experiences as a Wildcat on the gridiron.

 

Prominent in Schoolboy is Locklear's Christian faith, which, he notes, led to his being honored as “Hixson High Christian Athlete of the Year” in 70” and becoming involved with “evangelical ministry on high school and college campuses and involvement in leadership in para-church organizations.”

Among the dozens of names of Locklear's friends mentioned in the book are David Sessoms, a football team mate, and his brothers, Greg and Bo Sessoms. He also writes about his sister, Debbie, and brother, Billy, who was a standout running back at Hixson. The author also mentions other Wildcat football players, Skipper Eldridge and Doug Lewis and Ray Bell.

 

Additionally, Locklear writes about Wildcat football coaches, Tony Matusek, Tony Martino, Joel Brewster, Willard Mitchem and Tim Gooden.

Of Matusek, the author, who was a 
sophomore, notes: “This was going to be Anthony M. Matusek's last year as head football coach. Hixson still ran the single-wing offense. … I enjoyed practice and was able to dress in uniform for a few games.”

 

The football team, Locklear noted, “had a good season for Coach Matusek, finishing 6-3-1 and winning the county's Hamilton Interscholastic League Championship.”

 

The author also notes in his book his own successes playing football, track and basketball at Hixson and adds a few words about a comical incident.


“I had a handful of outstanding games during my senior season. The first was homecoming when we beat Whitwell 22-6. My claim to fame here started before the game. The cheerleaders had made a beautiful banner that was displayed under the crossbar of the goal posts for the team to run through. The seniors were up front for this game and somebody told me to lead the team out.

I was waiting behind the goalposts, and someone gave the signal to go! Unfortunately, the hadn't given the same signal to the cheerleaders and color guard. I burst through the banner and ran into a couple of color guard members and a cheerleader.”

Locklear also mentions in his book a somewhat humorous incident involving him throwing a book and accidentally breaking a window in Mr. Gooden's classroom. He explains that he was aiming for some students in the window of Arthur Butler's Tennessee History Class above Mr. Gooden's class. 

Because Locklear had been on his way to Mr. Cumming's class, he had to report to him and explain what had happened. Before the class ended, the author painfully recalls, Mr. Cummings “asked me to bend over and hold on the the edge of his desk. He stood up and walked over to my side and wound up with his paddle and swung it hard....

“That was a day that I never forgot, and I'm sure I, in fact, did learn some lessons that day and for years to come.”

School Boy is only 94 pages but is filled with an abundance of Hixson history and memories that take the reader back in time to a place that should never be forgotten.

 

School Boy is available via https://www.amazon.com/Jimmy-Locklear/e/B00FWGY314%3Fref=dbs_a_mng_rwt_scns_share and from WestBow Press.


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