Thursday, April 27, 2006

The Olden Days

My dad is the skinny one.

After Terrye's wonderful short post about her dad I thought I would add a bit about mine. Here he is in 1928, age nine, carrying water for the men building the tabernacle at the religious campground established by my grandfather. It was my dad's job that summer and he says the men worked hard and long and kept him busy. The tabernacle itself was built over a ravine that had to be filled with boulders and dirt, which was done using a mule team, a dirt skimmer, and wheelbarrows.

The camp is still in use and is situated near Hinton, West Virginia, a small town on the New River. At the time it was a railroad town with a repair depot and the trains hauled coal to the mills in Ohio. My dad was born at home, "between a whore house and the railroad tracks," as he tells it. The coal industry has moved on to cleaner coal and the railroad facilities are gone. I understand that the area is becoming a bit of an attraction for kayakers and such, although West Virginia as a whole is not exactly booming. My cousins used to say "last one out, shut the door."

Here is a recent picture taken near the campground showing the New River. It is easy to forget looking at scenic vistas like these just how hard life was without modern machinery and the wealth this country has accumulated over the years. It is one thing to visit someplace as a tourist toting a camera, it is quite another to make a living there.


MeaninglessHotAir said...

I see that you're a right-wing theocrat from way back.

chuck said...

I see that you're a right-wing theocrat from way back.

It's in the family. My dad, however, is an atheist. Well, he would say he is agnostic, but it's just a nicer term for the same thing. Not only did he leave the church, he stayed far, far, away from home and West Virginia. Not many fond memories there, I'm afraid.

terrye said...


For a lot of people the good old days were not so good.

Long hours and short pay.

My grandmother on the other hand remained a Baptist to her dying her day.

terrye said...

I forgt to mention, your Dad was a cutey.