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It's A Family Affair

Updated on June 22, 2017

A Joyful Place To Be

Hiding Out

One of the things that I remember about growing up in West Virginia is that life was filled with hard work. There were chores to be done before you went to school and chores to be done when you came home from school. On Saturdays work was done before we went any where or did anything fun. Most of my fun consisted of long walks up the railroad tracks, and trips down to the riverbank. When I wasn't found there you would have to make a long, hard trip up into the mountains to find me or call loudly and perhaps I would be close enough to hear you. I knew just when suppertime was so you can bet I would not be late for that. I also knew my times by when the trains would go by. I didn't need a watch , the world around me was my alarm clock, telling me what time to do the things I needed.

Daddy use to take me up in the hills with him hunting when I was just a little girl . It was amazing that any time I went he never shot anything. When I stayed home he would bring home rabbit, squirrel, pheasant, quail, and even deer. It was after I got older that I realized that Daddy didn't want me to see him hurt anything. I knew he only killed to put food on our table , and I knew something had to die , but I never had to experience that in my life. I so thank him for that.

Can You Relate

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From West Virginia To Florida and Back Again

When I was in Florida I was always thinking about my West Virginia Home. I would say to myself how much I would love be up on those hills rustling in the leaves, or be down on the banks of the Guyandotte river , (wrapped up in a blanket watching the water flow) , or maybe walking the railroad track to the old Steele Farm. I loved that place when I was growing up. The old Steele Farm was the home of an elderly couple my Mama would go to see. It had horses and cows and chickens and roosters all over the place. It had trees that to a child seemed to touch the sky. Mr. Steele would milk the cow for me and give me a glass to drink. I don't know what I liked best, watching him milk that cow, or drinking that fresh milk.

Across from his house stood the old WH Cabin, a railroad station where they would stop sometimes but it's true purpose was that the man inside would switch the tracks of the railroad ties , so that the engines could pass safely. I use to go in and watch the man switch the rails. I was spoiled as a child, because I would talk with anyone, so people just naturally took to me. I had a wonderful childhood. I got to do things most children couldn't , or were to shy to approach someone and ask questions. Not me. I wanted to know everything about everything. It worked I knew so much in my young years and I made so many wonderful memories , and yes, I thank God for that childhood.

Sometimes I would be passing the time on the front porch of my many neighbors. I knew everyone in my hometown. They were either my teachers at school , my Sunday School teachers , Workers in the local stores , or people my Mama had known for years. I just naturally loved spending time with them. They spoiled me rotten to , with ice-cold drinks in the summer and Hot Chocolate in the summer time. In the fall you would find me attending all the fall festivals, and having a ball at the church campground for our yearly autumn functions.

For that time of my life after I left home to move to Florida, I was content to pass the time of day on my computer...something I never had back then...sharing stories about the days I loved, the people I miss, and the little country town that brought me so much joy.

While living in Florida I found new interests, and none of them took me outdoors. It was too HOT. I had to be content with sitting on my duff...DAYDREAMING.

Now God has seen fit to bring me back home to West Virginia for a time. I do not know how long, but I am Thankful I do not know the plans he has for my life , but I'm happy right now.

Passing The Time, A Memory

Daddy loved to fish and hunt. He didn't hunt for sport ( in fact I grew up with all sorts of animals living in, around, and under our house where he would bring them home to doctor them and then set them free...sometimes they wouldn't leave) Daddy hunted to feed our family and only killed what we ate. He only took me to the woods a handful of times, but for some reason he never found anything to kill or he would miss it. Now I understand why.

Passing the time of day fishing was something that I loved to do. When Daddy was living we spent a lot of time down on the banks of the Guyandotte river. We had many meals of fried catfish and Bass. Daddy had another fishing spot but we only went there on Sundays after church. Mama would pack us a picnic basket with fried chicken and all the trimmings and we would get in our car and drive to Bias Lake not far from our house. It was a crude little place with tiny benches cut from trees, a bait shop, and a sweet old man who loved to talk about the fish. It sure wasn't much to look at but what a way to spend the day. Fishing in the Guyandotte River and Bias Lake (on Bias Fork Road ) is a memory I will never forget.

Home Town

Lincoln County, Wva:
Lincoln, WV, USA

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West Hamlin Wva:
West Hamlin, WV, USA

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Daddy raised a garden on the banks of the Guyandotte river. It was our "Fishing and Swimming Hole". It was where I spent most of my time growing up.

Bias Lake:
Bias Fork Road, West Hamlin, WV 25571, USA

get directions

This was a favorite place to go on Sunday after church. Daddy loved to fish. Mama brought along fried chicken with all the fixins.

Lincoln County, Wva:
Lincoln, WV, USA

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A Day Of Fun

Florida is a beautiful place to live but my mind often wandered back to my Wva home and I would remember all the fun things I did when I lived there. My life was full of great friends and a loving family. Money was hard to come by in those days but we seemed to make our own fun, just doing simple things. One time a year the children in our church were treated to a day of fun. They would plan an outing and pack a wonderful dinner. I remember the food and the smells coming from the pavillion. The women of our church were the greatest cooks, and every time we had dinner on the ground we left full. When we were called to dinner you can bet none of us were ever late. Tables were lined with fried chicken, baked ham (sliced), potatoe salad, macaroni salad, corn on the cob, apple pie, cherry pie, banana cream pie, chocolate pie and speciality pies. There were cakes of all sorts, and of course tea and cans of soda.

I can remember being spoiled by the older members of my church. I loved them and they loved me. Each ride took a certain amount of tickets and every one who went got tickets. The older generation would give their tickets to this red-headed, freckled-faced, pig-tailed little girl. I would get to ride until I was so tired I couldn't walk.


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The School Outing

I loved going to school. I loved being able to spend time with my friends. I feel sad that my little girl never liked school, and that none of her friends had the life I had growing up. Children today are so pressured to grow up so fast. I can remember playing jacks, and outdoor games in 8th grade. We weren't interested in boys, we didn't have cell phones, we didn't smoke, or cuss, or disrespect our teachers, we just did our work, did the best we could, and enjoyed our friends.

One of the best times of my school year was the school outing. We would show up early to be in the roll call. We knew that as soon as the bell rang and everyone was marked present we could load onto that old school bus and be headed out for the day. The cooks would be busy packing our lunches ( a peanut butter sandwich, an apple, a bag of chips, and lots of napkins). Our teachers would be busy making sure nothing was left undone. My heart would race. I was going to a place that I dearly loved. It was the place where summer had new meaning every year. The rides would be the same, but the feeling was always new. It was a chance to spend the day with my friends.

Camden Park

I made a trip home and wanted to take a little bit of time to go back to the places of my childhood. I visited my old schools, I went to my old churches, I went to the homes of old friends, and I made a trip to Kenova Wva expecting to see a favorite place of mine boarded up and collecting dust. So many of the places I use to go had been condemed , changed, or just sitting vacant. It made me so sad. I would walk to those places and still in my mind's eye see them as they were in my days when I grew up here.

I was shocked to see that my favorite place was not boarded up, sitting in disarray, condemed and lonely. It was still operational and I got a chance to be there on their 100 year anniversary. I was glad and sad at the same time. I was so glad to be there again, but I was on my way back home to Florida. I was invited to stay but had no time. I enjoyed a private tour of my old stompping ground. My heart still jumped with joy. The most popular ride in my day was the Roller Coaster. It looked the same as it did all those years ago.

I walked over to the kiddie grounds where I saw the old carousel that I rode as a child. It had the same horses arrayed in bright colors that I had ridden so many times before. The airplane ride looked the same and the little train hadn't changed in all these years. I made my way toward the rides I enjoyed as I got older. The haunted house looked the same. The park looked the same but some of the rides had been upgraded to newer ones. The ones I enjoyed the most was still there , so it felt as though little had changed. I saw the old train on the railroad track and it looked the same. Everyone rode the big train. It was a place to sit and relax and cool off from the day. The train would ride past an old cabin in the woods where a man dressed like Daniel Boone was animated to be fighting indians. Arrows would fly that seemed to catch the cabin on fire, haven't figured that one out yet. A little farther down the track Indians sat by campfires. Warriors, and women and children. They would be stirring in pots or making pottery. I didn't get a chance to see the trail and I forgot to ask if it still existed. That is a question I will have to ask the next time I go there.

The world was so different then. I can remember being dropped off there to meet my friends early in the morning and staying till closing time. Our parents didn't have to worry about us being abducted or anything bad happening to us. I never saw a fight there, and in fact we usually made friends who walked around with us and rode the rides.

I had the chance to meet so many nice people in my younger years who came to Camden Park to perform. I met one very special person. Dolly Parton. Wow what a lady ! She was every thing I thought her to be. She gave me a day I will never forget. I was by the bus entrance when she arrived. I got to go on her bus and she was the sweetest person I had ever met. I went home amazed that someone that well-known would give me the time of day.

Over several years I met Mel McDaniel, Ronnie McDowell, I interviewed John Michael Montgomery, and of course I never missed a performance of Billy Ray Cyrus. He was and still is one of the greatest performers... and what a personality he has. I still keep up with every tv show he appears on. I would never have had this opportunity had it not been for Camden Park. The price of admission was $5.00 and you could ride all day and see 2 shows (afternoon and evening) by your favorite performers. I am Thankful for all of my memories of this wonderful place I knew as a child.

Camden Park

Camden Park:
Camden Park, 5000 Waverly Road, Huntington, WV 25704, USA

get directions

This is a famous spot in Wva. In my childhood it was THE place to be. In my teenage years it was a great escape. Now it is a great memory.

Don't Forget
Try these
Comfortable shoes
Fun involves walking
Corn Dogs
Sunscreen in Summer
The wind can burn you
Cotton Candy
Long sleeves/cooler weather
Temperature drops on rides
Caramel Apples

Escaping for a While

Where do you steal away to find joy?

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