The Passing of Thomas Dale Traylor: Classmate, bud, and now among the Angels. We inscribe these short notes: David Christian Newton
15:42 (1 hour ago)
to Lynn, Betty, Linda, and all in the Class of 1964, McAllen High School:
Tom and I were pretty thick through primary, junior high, and high school. We graduated together in 1964, the first graduating class from the "new high school".
The Viet Nam War thing with the draft and divergent professional pursuits found us ever more isolated one from the other. He was always working. He worked alongside Jack Whetsel at Jack's Dad's store, the very famous Broadway Hardware....he worked at Minimax Grocery and became the youngest section manager in the store (produce) when he was a sophomore. He, unbeknownst to many was a crack varsity baseball pitcher for the Bulldogs and various teams in the city leagues starting in Pony League.
The late start into the game, quite frankly was due to his parents, especially his father, telling him that ".....baseball is a game that requires talent and intelligence, so why waste your time?'' Sad but true. I unabashedly take credit for his successful career in the game. I required him to try out, and he was rewarded with a coach for the Kiwanis-sponsored PONY league team declaring, "Where have you been hiding?"
Tommy was 5 -1 in his first season in organized baseball. A real junker....slow curves, slower change up, excellent control, and a deceptive fast-ball.....always kept really low.....a classic south-paw. He could hit for an average as well, a spray hitter who swung from the left.
Thomas Dale Traylor was a self-made person....a combination of preppie, nerd (a real science nut), and accountant. He was a magnificent fisherman, a real hunter when people used to track instead of lounging around in a blind with a solar-powered deer locater and computer-powered bazooka that blow the guts out of a doe at the corn-feeder, 50 yards away.
He did league bowling and carried a 208 average, and was a crack pool shark. I beat him three or four times out of perhaps 1,000 games of straight-pool, call your shot...strict rules. It was always a pleasure to win or lose, because I learned a bit each time I played him, and became pretty good myself. But Traylor was a true shark....private cue...everything.
He was a high scorer in the aptitude tests....infrequent but required in those years, but while we would strut around with our 98s and 99s on the SAT during the sophomore year and our 94th percentile on the CEEB and / or the College SAT at the end of our senior year....Thomas Dale would keep his 98s and 99s to himself, revealing them only after a lot of prodding and moaning and groaning...and then only to one or two of his best buds.
He was hard-working and a gentleman for so long as we "ran" together. The world is a bit less than it was a few days ago.
Que en Paz Descanses, Tomas.
David Christian Newton
(El Gringo Viejo)