Paul Dewey

Paul Lewey made an educated guess that I might have something to do with the media. Holding a Nikon and a big camera bag at the Dr. Enuf and Mountain Dew exhibit, put me in a category of “mostly likely person to work with the Johnson City Press.”

I was shooting photos for our client at Tri City Beverage at the Reece Museum on the campus of ETSU. They were celebrating the announcement of Mountain Dew’s recognition that Johnson City is where it all started – the same as the original energy drink Dr. Enuf.

“You don’t work at the newspaper do you, he asked.”

I responded with a statement that suggested we were related and replied, “What can I help you with?”

He asked me if I could help him with a typo. What was surprising was his reference date, “from 1951.”

Now that’s a question I’ve never had to consider. Typos happen all the time, and I’m one of the worst. Working in haste to make a deadline or check an item off a list, I’m prone to any oversight.

I told Paul that’s a tough one. After all, most of our newspaper no longer have a way to even access old newspapers like this. If the media artifact exists anywhere, you might find it in a basement on microfilm at your local library.

As strange as the request was though, I asked him to tell me his story, and we’ll see what I can do.

This story wasn’t a tale about Paul himself. He showed up on this very day, and it was fate that brought the two of us together.

Paul told me about a picture of his grandfather that appeared on the front page of the Johnson City Press on July 19th, 1951 – some 68 years ago. He was working for the Yellow Cab Company and drinking a Dr. Enuf with three other cabbies as part of a promotional add for Dr. Enuf, but the caption under the photo misspelled his grandfather’s name.

“My grandfather’s name was Doyle Lewey. They spelled his name as “Dewey” not “Lewey.”

He looked up and said, “Wait. I’ve got a copy in my car. Let me get show you.”

John walked out of the museum and returned to place a copy of the newspaper front page on top of one of the Dr. Enuf exhibits. And there he was, on page one with a group of friends drinking a Dr. Enuf just above the headline – “Local Cab Drivers Prove To Themselves, Dr. Enuf is Enough.”

This newspaper front page was one of the many Dr. Enuf ads that looked like a front page, and other headlines on the page stated “32% Of The People in The City Drink Dr. Enuf,” and “Nagging Headache, Run Down Feeling, Helped by Dr. Enuf.”

As I looked at the black and white halftone from the 50s, the thought that resonated the most was why Paul would go to so much trouble to find someone to share his story. Today, we all have our own 15 seconds of fame with social media channels and pictures all over the Internet. What was so important about the misspelling of Doyle Lewey’s name?

Having your picture on the front page of the newspaper in 1951 was probably a big deal. As a local cab driver, this must have been great for business, but an oops, snap your fingers moment to realize they got your name wrong.

I considered how important this must have been to Doyle and his family – especially marking such a casual moment like drinking an ice-cold Dr. Enuf with your friends. The fact that somewhere along the line, someone made a mistake is quite common, and I certainly hope it probably didn’t bother Doyle much.

What’s endearing is the concern for this unfortunate error from his grandson Paul. I’m not sure my retelling of this story has any real impact on this error. Besides, getting your attention to read this far is about as flattering as anyone could hope for. However, I sure would like to think it helps to set the record straight – even if it is 68 years later over a nostalgic exhibit of Dr. Enuf artifacts.

As I’ve reflected on this story, it;’s obvious this is a matter of honor. Paul honored his grandfather, and that says a lot about this man’s character and the grandson Doyle helped to impart what it means to respect your elders.

Thank you, Paul – it was sure nice to meet you and your grandfather, Doyle Lewey. Enuf is enough and to your good health, my friend.