Sharon Lynette (Skipper) Allen


7370 Winery Lane
Charlotte, NC 28227

 Home: 980-875-9271

What song most reminds you of your school days?
"Stand By Me"
What teacher most influenced you?  
Ms. Derryberry/Ms. Ogle
Which reunions have you attended?

Fondest memories of your days at Central:
The school spirit, particularly the pep rallies, and the curious personalities of some of the teachers! One memory in particular is the smell of the halls after the floors had been oiled; I think that will never go away. Also loved the football games, May Day, Senior Day and making the stage scenery for Senior Day.

My life since graduation:  


Married in 1964; moved to Gadsden, AL; became Medical Technologist; was professional race driver 1967 - 1977 (SCCA and IMSA); set world record in 1977 at Talladega, AL (car is in Intl MotorSports Hall of Fame museum there). Divorced, moved to Charlotte 1982; Lab Director for 3 emergency centers; also worked for NASCAR teams on weekends; joined NC Wing, CAP 1984, made Major, graduated from Air University Command & Staff College 1991, also learned to fly & went to Special Forces survival school; now retired and doing WWII reenactments and historical displays, work with veterans' groups.

Bio Update 3/22/2009

Following our reunion in 2002, I experienced a decline in my back status. I have always had a scoliosis with rotation, but it was not too limiting to my activities. After 2002, it began to deteriorate. I was under the care of what was supposed to be the best back guy in Charlotte. He treated me with drugs, physical therapy, nerve root blocks and even trips to the chiropractor. Nothing he did helped and the condition worsened. By 2005, I was walking bent over, listing to the left, and had pain that was indescribable – I was not able to walk to the mailbox and just going to the back of the house was agony. I could endure a nerve root block without medication. My entire left side was numb and my left foot had no strength and was not functioning properly. My left leg had withered to half its size. I had begun to wonder if I had the nerve to off myself.

Finally, in October of 2006, I demanded a CT – Myelogram, which is a definitive study for nerve damage. I had requested one twice before, but the doc refused. Having been in the health care field most of my life, I was able to get my hands on the report before my return appointment to get the results from the doc. When I saw it, I knew there was no option except surgery. Lo and behold, all he suggested was more therapy and “let’s try another nerve root block”. I asked about surgery, but he said we didn’t want to talk about that. So, my brain told him to go to hell.

After talking to friends for referrals and doing some research online, I found a young orthopedic surgeon in Concord (a neighboring town just north of here where Lowe’s Motor Speedway is) who was fresh off a Fellowship at the Spine Center of Texas. I took the CT-Myelogram report to him and he ordered an office spine x-ray. He gave me the straight and skinny – you need surgery, and “it will be a big one”, or I would be in a wheel chair in a year. He said my spine was crumbling like an old chimney and the vertebrae were all slipping out of place, and he doubted I would ever get the use and feeling back in my left foot. My height had decreased from five feet eight inches to five feet four inches. Needless to say, it didn’t take much thought to make the decision.

The surgery was done the Monday after Thanksgiving in 2006. It took eight hours and he inserted two rods and eleven screws. The next day, he was amazed and pleased to find the strength had returned in full to my left foot and that afternoon I was walking with a walker. Since that day, I have only had pain when I did something I shouldn’t do. I have had to keep working at it, but the effort has paid off in spades.

The reason I waited so long to post this is I wanted to be sure the results were lasting. Now, more than two years later, I find I am able to do more with each passing month and continue to gain height (I am now back to five feet, seven inches). Today, I am able to do pretty much anything I want to except push a lawn mower (yes, I used to enjoy that).

My advice to anyone out there that has a deteriorating problem is – get a second opinion and a third, if necessary. Fight for it. Don’t take “no” for an answer. Be determined to get better and be willing to work for it and have the drive to conquer whatever it is. Never, ever, give up.

Update 1/29/2012
In the last three years, I have found a new profession: setting up WWII hangar dances for various groups at air shows, reunions, etc. The first one I did on my own was in 2010 for Maj. Gen. Tom Sadler. He only gave me two months notice to set one up for the Charlotte USO, in conjunction with the May race at Charlotte Motor Speedway. I had it at Rusty Wallace's hangar at Concord Airport. We ended up with 450 people attending and had a great time, plus raised a lot of money for the local USO. Since then, I have done a bunch more and every one has been a really fun time to do. I enjoy doing something where everyone has such a wonderful time. Most of the people wear vintage 1940s clothes or WWII uniforms like me and my staff. It is a great thing to keep the memory of that time alive.