Early Life in WV Coal Camp-Summer at Granny’s House

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Yes, the one week turned into another week at Granny Woodrum’s.  I remember my mom and dad coming to get me and I began to cry and cry and cry.  I loved staying with Granny and she loved me.  Granny said, “Well, just her stay”.  I am sure, looking back, my mom and dad liked having this time to themselves!!!

I needed to have some dental work and daddy said he would buy me a bicycle if I would go with Granny to Dr. Wilkerson.  I promised and promised…..just so he would leave and I would get to stay. 

big-blue-bus.jpgThere was a daily bus called The Blue Goose that ran from Yawkey to Hamlin which was about 14 miles away.  Granny and I got on the bus on Monday  and I was in seventh heaven.  Just think me and my granny are on a bus.  We looked out all the windows and talked about who lived in the houses we could see.  This was so much fun.

Well, when the bus got to Hamlin it stopped on Main Street.  My heart was beating very fast and I could feel my face flushing.  I could see a big white stucco building with The Henson Clinic (this is where I was born) on the bottom and the top floor was THE DENTIST, DR. WILKERSON.  I had a terrible experience with a dentist in the Coal Camp and I didn’t want anything to to with this one either.

There were two flights of steps and you could hear a big echo as you climbed one step, two steps all the way to the top.  It smell like ether from the clinic below and it made me think there were some very serious procedures going on in this building.

We opened the door to the waiting room and there were several people sitting there that just stared at us.  I think they may have been as afraid as me.  One old man asked me if I was there to get my teeth pulled.  (this was all I needed). I told him I was just getting a check-up and some fillings.  ***Remember this was before Crest Toothpaste and fluoride***

I was about to pee really bad and Granny said the bathroom was just outside the waiting room.  I could hear the scary echo again as my shoes hit the  black and white ceramic floor to the bathroom.  I actually thought this would be a good time to just escape, but I wasn’t sure I could find my way home.  I also knew my dad would get really mad.

dental-chair.jpgDr. Wilkerson called my name and I though I would pass out.  He had me climb into the dental chair with a white water fountain beside the chair.  Everything in this room smelled funny and looked big.  I began to cry and get very upset.  I started breaking out in hives and had red blotches all over me.

Dr. Wilkerson told Granny I was just too upset for him to check my teeth.  He though I better come back when I was more calm.  Thank God for answered prayers!!!!

By the way, I got the bicycle anyway.  I was into sales at a young age.  I told daddy if he would go ahead and get the bicycle ….that I would go to the dentist.  We both kept our promise.

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