There’s something intimate about handwriting. As distinctive and unique as a fingerprint — loopy drawls, all capital letters, chicken scratch — the letters often can tell a story about the person writing it.
It’s why even in the technological age, handwritten notes remain a treasured arrival in the mailbox.
Liz Allison has found plenty of treasure in previously unopened boxes around her Nashville, Tennessee, home. Treasures and mementos of her late husband Davey Allison. Old trophies. Hats. Pictures.
And this speech.
RELATED: Learn more about Davey Allison
Davey had written a speech to give to high school students in the summer of 1993 about the dangers of doing drugs. It was a topic he was passionate about. His untimely death in July relegated his speech to a box that was taped shut and stuffed into storage.
His words remained there for 25 years until Liz Allison found them recently while going through some of Davey’s belongings.
And now, for the first time, in his own words and his own handwriting — raw and unedited, including scratch-outs — is Davey Allison’s speech, with a full transcript typed out below.
“Everyone has seen the commercial: This is your brain. Drugs do not improve your abilities. They make you think you feel better but anything that destroys your mind and body can not make you feel better. This is why drugs are called THE BIG LIE. I know in my line of work I don’t want to be around anybody who uses mind altering drugs. And I certainly would not want to endanger anyone else because of my misuse of drugs, in my work or anywhere else. Kids today are under more pressure because of the availability of drugs and peer pressure. Just remember peer pressure can be reversed. You can be a good influence on your friends and peers. Just say no and impress upon them that you don’t need drugs to have a good time. And remind them they don’t either. You don’t need drugs to be able to accomplish your goals. As I already said, they do not make you better than you already are. You can’t do something by taking drugs that you were not already capable of doing. Besides, if you accomplish something naturally, without artificial stimulation, it will mean a lot more to you.
“If you were walking in the woods and came across a rattlesnake, what would you do? You would probably run the other direction. Certainly you would not stop to play with it. Well drugs kill a lot more people every year than all snakes combined. Think about that when you see someone using drugs and especially if they are offered to you. Drugs kill. They are deadly. They do not just kill the people who use them either. Not only do innocent victims suffer from accidents caused by drug users, but there are the victims of robberies and murders because drugs take control of you once you start to use them. They make you willing to do whatever it takes to get your next fix. Who wants that kind of responsibility hanging over their heads? I could not live with myself with that kind of guilt on my mind. Think about that.
“Do yourself a favor, get involved in sports, school projects or clubs, or some kind of community activity. Get someone to take you fishing or hunting during the right seasons. Believe me, you will get a lot more satisfaction and fulfillment out of these things in the long run. Especially when you are older and are able to look back on all the bad situations you avoided because of not getting hooked on drugs.
“And by all means stay in school. Get as much education as you can. Nothing can ever replace that and no one can ever take it away. Once you have it, it is always there when you need it. In closing, the best piece of advice my father ever gave me was: Set your goals and work for them, remember who you are and where you came from, and always treat people the way you want to be treated!”