This is one of my most viewed post and I want to repost for my viewers. There has been many searches for information on “West Virginia Coal Camps” and you may have missed my information.
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Brenda Woodrum Hudson
Basil and I had lunch under the big oak trees in our front yard today. I have a picnic table in the back yard and a lovely table and chairs on the deck, but something was calling for the yard. We have two gravity reclining lawn chairs and this was a nice place to relax.
I could see our American Flag flapping in the breeze of this July day. I couldn’t keep from thinking of all the people who have helped keep us FREE and it is an honor to see Old Glory. My grandpa, Pearl Lucas Woodrum-WW I and my dad, Donald Edward Woodrum-WW 2 were only two of thousands who are American heros.
I closed by eyes and the coolest July breeze brushed across my skin and I almost felt like I was on the beach. I sneaked and opened my eyes and I was still in WV…oak trees and all. I again closed by eyes and I could hear many birds giving out their calls, bugs clicking in the trees and the smell of smoke in the distance. Just listen…..Just listen…….The branches hanging from my oak trees were dancing with the breeze and actually keeping rhythm.
Ouch!!! I felt something sting my hand. It was something I hadn’t seen all summer. A sweat bee. Sweat bee’s are tiny, tiny little bee’s that only sting lazy people (or so my mom always said). Well, I was being lazy today.
I am anticipating all the 4th of July events in a few days, but today was priceless. I shared a tuna sandwich with the man I love for time and eternity, the breeze was cooling us and God’s creation was tapping on my shoulder. Sometime we just need to slow down and look around us.
“Be still and know I am God”.
My aunt Marcella passed away a couple of days ago. We visited the funeral home today and paid our honor to she and her family. As I neared the coffin I could see her wishes had been carried out. My 88-year-old aunt always loved the color red and wore it all the time. Today was no exception. Marcella had beautiful red flowers on her casket and she was dressed in a red suit and red loop earrings.
I spent many summers visiting with Marcella’s family. Her daughter, Joyce and I would spend the day playing in the town of St. Albans. Aunt Marcella was a professional seamstress and she could make anything. Joyce always had the most beautiful doll cloths and I sort of felt a little jealous. Her mom would have left over material and it would turn into a doll dress, doll coats and hats.
Marcella was my mother’s oldest sister and they were very close. Marcella and Joyce would come and stay a week with us when we lived in a coal camp in Mammoth, WV. One day Joyce and I decided to play beauty shop. I was about six and Joyce was five….when we became beauticians. I was bossy even then. I talked Joyce into letting me cut her hair and assured her I would be careful. I decided she needed it cut SHORT. Clip, clip, snip all on one side of her head and then….OUR MOTHER’S CAME OUT ON THE PORCH where I was cutting. I thought they were going to faint and we were two scared little girls.
Through the years Marcella’s signature color was always red. I wonder if the Red Hat Society got their idea from her?
I will always cherish my childhood memories at Aunt Marcella’s house. She had a parakeet that laid eggs, a bathtub on claw feet, a wardrobe with lots of hats, a really fast sewing machine, crisp bacon and lots of patience to tolerate two giggling little girls. We would always attend Grace Baptist Temple on Sunday and come home to a Sunday Dinner.
The Lady in Red had lived her many years and brought joy to others. God called her home and I believe she may even get a red robe in heaven.
As many of you know, I found a long lost playmate that I knew back in the late 40’s and 50’s. I had written about “Life In The Coal Camp” and we made a connectionafter almost 60 years. Well, I didn’t realize Karen was still reading my blog until today. Karen has been disappointed that I haven’t been keeping up a daily post. Karen, I dedicate my ramblings today to you.
I am happy to say I am improving on some of my procrastinating. Yes, I am eating the frog again and taking on those things that get put on the back burner. I scheduled a check-up with the doctor and had a lot of blood test completed. I got the results and everything looks good. Now, why did I procrastinate and wait for months to do this?
I am really proud of myself….I I made an appointment for a haircut….helped at VBS tonight……making plans for a trip…..getting ready for guest to arrive the end of June…….planning a family picnic. I still need to procrastinate a little on cleaning out the refrigerator.
I would write more, but I will tomorrow. :))
Some of the most interesting post on this blog begin with some of the earlier post. I would like to suggest that you go back and read through some of stories about country life, life in a WV Coal Camp and many stories about grandparents.
I will be picking up on some new stories that happened in the ’60’s in the next few days. In the meantime, look back and read some of the earlier posts.
I really invite you to leave comments. It is nice to know if any of your writing touchs anyone else.
Paula Hudnall Gift
Let’s roll back the clock almost 59 years and let’s go to Mammoth, WV. You will have to read some of my earlier blog post to learn about living in a WV Coal Camp.
I remember not wanting to leave all my friends like Lynn Hudnall, Karen Agee, Punch and Loretta Edens, The Hurley’s, The Ash Family, The Pringles and Carol Ann Bagley. I was crying and saying how much I would miss my friends.
Paula Hudnall lived next door to us and I always thought she was very nice. I remember her putting her arms around me and she handed me something. It was a very little novelty that looked like an old oil lamp. Paula told me to keep this close to me and every-time I look at it to remember her.
This little lamp brought so much comfort to a little girl that was moving and losing all her friends. Well, 59 years later, I still have that little lamp (picture at the top) and I will keep it forever. As a teen I kept it in my “treasure box” and it has travel with me through many moves and travels.
It is not how big a gift you give, but how you give that makes a difference.
If you have been reading my blog, you know I spent the first 8 years of my life in a coal camp at Mammoth, WV. Review my blog and you will see I had a next door neighbor by the name of Lynn Hudnall. For the past 60 years I have wondered if Lynn was still alive, where did he live and was it in WV.
My daughter made a sales contact to a business concerning their yellow pages. After she got off the phone she came in my office and was telling me about her conversation with a man by the name of Lynn Hudnall. I said, “Lynn Hudnall”. I immediately wondered if this could be the person I had wondered about for 60 years. I asked Teresa to email him and ask if he used to live in Mammoth, WV. Sure enough, this was Lynn and I just couldn’t believe it.
Lynn’s mom gave me a little oil lamp that is just about 3 inchs high. She told me to remember her with this little lamp. I have kept that little lamp in a “special place” for over 60 years and hope to show it to Lynn.
I have not met him face to face yet, but hope to meet he and his wife soon. I am sure we will have some good memories to discuss.
Well, I made it through 1st grade (without Ms. Sassy Red Hair Hall school teacher) and I was top of my class. The school year ended and it is time for “Summer Vacation”. Time to sleep late, go bare footed and play outside.
My grandma Woodrum lives in Lincoln County, WV (100 miles away) and she wants me to come stay a week with her. Boy, I am so excited to leave the Coal Camp and go into the country where people raise gardens, they have huge yards and there are no coal mines or coal trucks. The nearest thing to a coal mine in Lincoln Co. would be oil wells that are all over the hillsides. When they pumped you could hear them cracking for miles.
Everything was so peaceful at Granny Woodrum’s house. You could raise your window at night and hear the frogs croaking in the big water tank outback and the air always smelled so clean. Granny had flowers planted in her yard and we would walk through her flower garden and talk about the names of the flowers. I loved to pick a bouquet from her lilac bush and that was always okay with her. Sometimes we would go on the hill and find rich dirt under a rotten log and put it in buckets. We would come back down the hill and spread the dirt around her peony’s.
I loved to play pretend with an old pink chenille bedspread, purse and high heel shoes. Of course, I had to put on make-up, lipstick and Evening in Paris perfume. (stinky smell) Immediately, I would become a beautiful bride that was marching down the walkway or a pretend queen in the flower garden. I was whoever I wanted to be and Granny thought it was fun.
Grandpa worked for Pennzoil Oil and he walked all over the hillside checking the oil rigs, pumping the rigs and keeping records on a pad of grid paper. He would give me his old papers and immediately I became the pretend manager of a big office building.
Granny had a record player that you had to crank (it wasn’t electric). We would pick out an old Eddie Arnold record, put the record on the spinning table, down goes the needle and music starts playing. I loved to lie in the floor and pretend the man was inside the records player. I was a little strange then too.
Remember, this was only going to be a week. We will see if it is shorter or longer in the next chapter of this little girls life.
The Agee family lived just down the tracks and on the right of the road. They lived beside the Shadeeds Furniture Store in a big house with lots of activity. Elizabeth Agee was one of my mom’s best friends and we were always walking down for a visit.
One day Elizabeth had us to come down to join in on a taffy pull. I had no idea what we would be doing, but it sounded like fun. Elizabeth had already cooked the ingredients and let them cool. We had to rub butter on our hands so the taffy wouldn’t stick. She gave her daughter a glob of taffy and told me to grab about half the taffy and pull it up the hallway (without getting it on the floor). We kept pulling, then mixing the glob and pulling some more. Finally, it reached the stage that Elizabeth got out her scissors and began cutting it into pieces and my mom wrapped them in paper.
This was a once in a lifetime experience, but I decided it was easier to just eat a Hershey’s Chocolate Bar.
My mom and I attended the Mt. Lewis Baptist Church and my daddy went “sometimes”. The picture is the actual church as it looks today. Rev. Eugene Wolfe was holding a revival service at our church and my mom talked daddy into going with her. He attended several nights and really like to hear Rev. Wolfe preach. One night of the revival, he walked to the alter and prayed and ask God to forgive him of his sins. He became a born again Christian and was baptized later.
My dad was a faithful Christian for the remainder of his life. He served as a deacon, association leader, teacher and church treasurer most of his life. He was an Christian example to his children and grandchildren.
Life in the coal camp produced good results that lasted a lifetime.