Monday, October 24, 2011

Autumn Road Trip...Part Two


We woke to rain & fog for our second day in West Virginia.
Before we left the area we wanted to go to the viewing area
for the New River Bridge.
Years ago we had seen this bridge under construction,
crossing the valley, saving drivers treacherous miles
on Route 19.
I remember the road as being full of "S" curves, 
descending steeply into the deep ravine.


Here we are driving across the bridge,
unable to see much below because of the fog.


We drove down the side road to the Visitors Center
& viewing area,
only able to barely make out the bridge from this point,
dimly spotting a few car headlights.


But the walk was worth the trip.
And I thought that the rain made the colors more brilliant.


We found Route 60 & drove a few miles to Hawks Nest,
another viewing point for the New River.
The Indians called this the "River of Death"
because of the white water rapids.
It is known for its excellent white watering rafting.
I'll take their word about it!


The horseshoe bend in the New River


A train track running along the mountain
and a train trestle crossing the river


Being in no hurry, and me wanting to watch the leaves,
we took the scenic route towards Virginia.
We drove over 200 miles on roads like this.
It was beautiful!


Along the way, we spotted this entrance
and made a spur of the moment side trip.
Bob didn't think he had ever been here,
then decided maybe he had come on a school trip.


This was our view as we entered the State Park.
It seemed as if there was a golden glow!


Color was everywhere!


And we found this mill!
"Park the car, Bob....I'm getting out!"


This is where Bob began to remember being here before.
He remembered this rock...
and said that somewhere there is a photograph
of his Dad standing in the same spot...


which is a lot farther than it looks when not zoomed in!
I had no idea he would even think about climbing out there,
but he began climbing the rock as soon as he realized
that I wanted a picture.


What a beautiful area...
and we almost missed it! 


Thankful that we had made this spur of the moment side trip,
we decided to head on to our destination.


More miles to go to reach Roakoke.
A lovely drive, even in the rain!

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Autumn Road Trip ~ Part One ~ Beckley


Last week Bob & I loaded up in the SUV & headed out
on another one of those sentimental journeys.
Most of his childhood memories are from the years
that his family spent in the mountains of West Virginia,
moving there just in time for him to start 1st grade,
and moving away right before his Freshman year.



It was a beautiful trip...here viewed through
our bug spattered windshield!
The hills of Kentucky were tinted with autumn's colors.
And as we crossed the West Virginia state line,
the colors became more vibrant.



I snapped pictures furiously through our tinted window
as we buzzed down the West Virginia Turnpike,
while Bob began telling me stories.
Usually sort of quiet, these hills brought the memories
flooding to his mind & although I had heard them before,
it was good to hear them again.

One particular tale is told about being in his best friends 1965 GTO.
It was after they had moved away but were back at Huntington
for a church camp & Bob went home with Frank for a few days.
On the ride home, Frank's dad sat in the back seat,
holding an old 8 millimeter movie camera
& gave Frank permission to bury the speedometer!
Bob remembers seeing the needle pointing straight down--
which would have been at least 130 mph!!!
And at that time, although the highway was a turnpike,
it was anything but straight.
Thankfully, they survived the ride to tell the tale!







Bob's dad was a preacher man...
& for that matter, still is.
He moved his family of 5 (Vickie wasn't here yet)
from the hills of southern Indiana
to the mountains of West Virginia.
I asked Bob on this trip if at the time he realized that he
was living in the Appalachian Mountains.
He said no...he just knew they were mountains,
and remembers the cold winters & piles of snow.



Harper Road,
leading into Beckley.
Nothing is flat there--
you are either on a hillside,
going around a curve,
or traveling down a steep incline.
I must say, it's beautiful country!



Landmarks.
The city streets hadn't changed much
and Bob found his way to his memories.
This one lead downtown & to another highway.


This familiar intersection lead us to the church...




where Bob's dad pastored his people,
earning $50. a week...which probably wasn't all that bad for the time,
and where the kids grew up.



During their years, the building was white blocks.
Just passed the parking lot is the parsonage.

Home for the Thompson's
while living in Beckley



Bob was full of stories of when they were kids...
telling about racing from tree to tree with Sherry...
about Steve breaking Mom's dogwood and blaming "Barry Joe"
and Mom baking chocolate cake & them eating it
while it was still warm, with butter on top...
of Frank & Eddie being their neighbors...
riding bikes up & down the hills...
suppers of fried potatoes & beans
or homemade chili with donuts for dessert...



tales of running & jumping out that tall church door
BEFORE there was a stairway! ...
Lots of memories



Bob began his piano lessons when he was 6 years old.
He remembers his Mom being diligent about making him practice.
Later he could play well enough that he had to play for the church services.
And he remembers going to a few funerals & having to play the organ
before his Dad preached.



Temple Street...
where they lived for a few months
while the new parsonage was being completed.
Vickie was born while they lived here.
I have pictures of Sherry & Bob, ready for their first day of school,
leaving from this house.
The years have taken their tole on the little house.



Lincoln Grade School...
a few hills away from home.
Bob remembers being late almost every day.
Mom wanted to let them sleep until the last minute
and then it was a rush to get there on time.


Beckley Junior High...
now part of Mountain State University
where Bob & Sherry went to Junior High.


First Baptist Church...downtown
where the family went to see Stuart Hamblen
in 1959
to hear him sing "It Is No Secret"
and his new release,
"Until Then"



Neville Street,
downtown in Beckley



and this picture is for our kids!
Formerly "Charles House Hotel"...
where we stayed in 1991...for one night!
We made our own memories there.
It wasn't quite as nice as Bob remembered!



Bob remembers pushing wheel barrels full of dirt
along this wall of the church
and got paid a penney & a half per load!
He says it took 100 loads to buy a model car!
They were digging the dirt out from under the parsonage
to make a basement. 
What a way to earn a penney!

It had been 20 years since we visited Beckley for
a church Homecoming.
It was good to go back home again...
to "Almost Heaven ~ West Virginia"!
or
is it "Wild & Wonderful"?


Monday, October 10, 2011

Time Out...

In the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia,


On the trail of the lonesome pine—

In the pale moonshine our hearts entwine,

Where she carved her name and I carved mine;


We are going to take a little time out for ourselves the next few days.

Can you guess where we are going from the above lyrics?

Our plan is to do a little wandering,
stopping by Beckley, West Virgina
where my hubby spent some of his childhood years.
Then we will travel on to Roakoke, Virginia
to see some friends of long ago.


And the Blue Ridge Parkway
runs close to Roakoke.
Weather permitting, we hope to take a mountain ridge drive.

Did you ever see that old Laurel & Hardy movie where they sang this song?
I'm sure we will be humming it as we do some sight seeing.

See you soon!

Monday, October 3, 2011

Dining Room Memories. . .


There were large family gatherings at Grandma's house
when we would crowd around her dining room table,
all four daughter's having helped prepare a delicious meal.
I remember heaping bowls of buttered mashed potatoes
and a platter of fried chicken, along with all of the trimmings.

What was Grandma's dining room, possibly was meant to be a bedroom.
It wasn't large, situated just off the kitchen in the back corner of the house.
A larger table took up most of the room.
Chairs were all around the table
and once you were seated,
you were there until someone moved
to let you out.
In the corner was a china cabinet
filled with what I thought was the most beautiful dishes,
probably mostly depression glass.
The plate on the easel belonged to Grandma also,
a remaining piece of her "everyday dishes".


On the wall was one of my favorite pictures.
It was always there...back as far as I remember.
When the time came that Grandma's belongings were divided
among her family, my Mom took "The Gleaners" home with her.
For several years it hung on our dining room wall.
Some other piece of art caught Mom's eye & this picture
was covered up...thankfully not tossed in the trash.
At some point I found it, brought it home with me,
used it for a while & put it away.
I recently had it re-framed & it is now displayed in my kitchen. 


I am trying to let my children know about some of my
"favorite things"
and why I hang on to them.
This picture has always reminded me of the story of Ruth,
one of my favorite Bible stories,
and it has special meaning since it belonged to my
beloved Grandma Fulkerson.
It also brings back memories of the times that
the aunts, uncles, & cousins
would come to Grandma's
and although Grandma's house was small,
we made enough room to share meals around
the family table.
Sometimes the younger ones would end up at the kitchen table.
We wouldn't have wanted it any other way.

Maybe someday it will hang on someone elses wall
and there will be more dining room memories.