The Search for “Big Un” Concludes… sigh. – PLUS
A “George Hand” died in a Clinton NC nursing home on August 17. The only specifics in the 23-word obituary notice was his birth year. That was reason enough for me to re-open a Cold Case File I have maintained for 40+ years – Whatever Became of “Big Un”?
If dusty memory serves me… George Hand became “Big Un” in 1962 courtesy of the legendary ED EMORY of ECU / Wadesboro / Lots of Places Fame. Ed Emory’s first teaching / coaching gig out of ECU was as Assistant FB coach at Jesse W. Grainger High School in Kinston under the tutelage of feisty George L. Thompson in the early-mid 1960s.
It is as likely that Coach Thompson or Randall Joe Holmes named him “Big-Un” but Ed Emory has more celebrity value so let’s go with “Ed Emory did it”. Ed, George, George and even Joe are all gone now and no living Red Devil will dare question my memory on such a thing.
By modern football standards, “Big Un” wasn’t all that big… maybe 6’0” / 215-220 tops with much of that being his head. Every high school football team has “that guy” who requires a special order helmet. George Hand required a 8 ¼ as I recall. YIKES!
“Special order” Riddell helmets were/are expensive and George was never above 2nd string. But ya can’t send a kid out without a helmet although Ed Emory mighta tried to… to toughen him up. Concerns of “concussions” were as non-existent “back then” as concerns for heat-prostration and pretty much any other life-threatening injuries.
Our starting O-line averaged “maybe 180-185” in rain-soaked uniforms holding a concrete block. So “Big Un” was a big un by comparison.
George was among my 4-5 closest pals thru that 4-year Rite of Passage at Grainger Hi. We shared an irreverent sense of humor and many classes. George’s dad was in the construction trades. They lived in “Greenmeade” as I recall.
“Big Un” might denote “a big lug”… Lennie from Of Mice & Men or Hoss Cartwright, kinda slow on the uptake but kind to animals. George WAS “kind to animals” and quite smart. Smart enough to merit an appointment to West Point Smart. WOW!
I matriculated amongst Silent Sam, Charlie Scott, The Dean, Dooley’s Boys et al… and George to West Point on The Hudson and The Lone Gray Line. … and something happened.
I heard that George dropped out of West Point his Junior year which is unusual. That first Plebe year is where most “dropping out” occurs. I never saw him to ask, nor heard any accounts of what “dropped out” meant.
He completed a degree at some Eastern NC college, likely ECU, and taught for a couple of years at our alma mater … again… and something happened.
Apparently an altercation with a student… and George’s teaching career was “filed in 13” along with his military career.
A year or so later and George “Big Un” Hand simply vanished… reason unknowm – location unknown. I was out-of-state during all that. All I know is I never hear from – heard of – my high school pal until that obituary this past week.
When Goggle came out I “goggled” him a few times but there are multi-100s of George Hands out there. On my corporate travels I would occasionally check a phone book (A WHAT?) for “George Hand” to no avail.
Our class of around 200 has held 10 year reunions religiously and they have been well-attended. Alas, the In Memorium Wall is growing considerably these days.
I would ask some of the fellas if anyone had heard of/from George. Nope… just shoulder shrugs.
I resigned my curiosity to that Cold Case File. Content that maybe George and DB Cooper were living large in The Lost Dutchman Mine or in Shangri-La.
That his obit was only 23-words involving a non-descript nursing home in Clinton NC where he had only been a resident “a short time” and listed no family/friends… the thought that my old high school pal had been “living large” these 40+ years was shelved.
Had we reconnected somehow, could I have helped him along?
Did “Big Un” ever wonder whatever happened to me? GULP!
If this world was not a good fit; perhaps, the next one will be.
Is there “a Big Un” in the dusty corridors of your life?
I may have finally solved a lingering issue of no small consequence to me.
As noted recently, I have become quite active on Twitter. Which is akin to being a very busy Roto-Rooter serviceman… wading knee-deep in verbal sewage in 280-character clumps; but somebody has to do it. 20-years as a provocative Internet Legend has prepared me for the experience.
NOTE: I NEVER recommend anyone “Tweeting”, regardless of one’s socio-political bent. The millions of mental cases that do it are quite enough.
My particular twitter-style does not involve direct one-on-one combat with opposing POVs but it does happen. I do come up with some awesomely clever lines causing my LIKEs and RETWEETs to go TILT.
If you go to HOME you will see several posts of “Deep Thoughts & Tweets” which are “Best (Worst?) Of” collections from the past week or so. Mine AND AgentPierce (uh oh).
These highly partisan comments will NOT “be on the final exam”. Except maybe as Extra Credit Questions. These are not live tweets that you can LIKE or RETWEET. But you CAN post comments at the bottom as always. Our BLSays Rules Of Decorum remain in effect.
By keeping partisan provocative stuff THERE, I can regale you HERE with fascinating tales of people I’ve known… places I’ve been… and how I might run The Universe… if only Life was Fair.