Tag Archives: mammoth

Each Day Is New-Early Life In WV Coal Camp



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. 

Please leave me a comment after you visit.

Brenda Woodrum Hudson

Each Day Is New- The Lady In Red


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.

Each Day Is New–Reading the Beginning



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.

Gift from the WV Coal Camp


Paula Hudnall Gift

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.

Early Life in the Coal Camp-The Pringles & Sound of Sirens


coal-mine.jpgTwo doors up from our house and along the tracks lived the Pringle family.  There was the daddy, Cereda and the son, Cricket.  I can remember my mom putting together a big dinner and inviting the Pringle family down to eat.  Mother had home canned peaches for dessert and Mr. Pringle loved them.

The Pringles were a typical coal mining family that lived in Mammoth, WV.  I suppose Cricket was a nickname with a loving meaning.  I can remember little except the last name.  I always thought the last name sounded like the name of Santa’s elf.

The miners’ wives stayed home to care for the children, take care of the house and prepare a good meal for their husbands.  The mother’s were always on alert for any sounds of sirens in the community.  The sirens going off meant there had been a mining accident and everyone would run to their front porch.  I suppose each wife was hoping and praying her family and friends would not be hurt.

One afternoon the sirens went off and soon several ambulances arrived and headed for the mine. Everyone was out in their yard and on their front porches hoping to hear and see what was happening.  News began to break that a roof in one of the mines had collapsed and there were injuries.  Within a few hours someone from the mine arrived at the Pringle home and informed then that Mr. Pringle had been crushed and didn’t make it.  I could her people crying with disbelief.

My mom was so sad and just wanted to know daddy was not hurt.  I remember daddy coming home and mother and daddy hugging and kissing with joy.  Others can make an impact on your life with their name, their lives or where they live.  We all influence someone.

Early Life in WV Coal Camp


Ball PlayerMy dad returned from World War II when I was three years old.  He was anxious to reconnect with his family and…..get a job.  My dad was one of the most recognized baseball pitchers in the state and believe it or not it would get him a job.  The big coal companies had their own teams and they scouted out daddy and asked him to play on their team.  Of course, he would get to work in the coal mine too.

This meant I would have to leave Lincoln County and go with my mom and dad to Mammoth, WV.  I would be 100 miles away from my Grandma and Grandpa McClure and this was very upsetting for me.  Living in a coal camp was really different than living on a farm in Lincoln County.

coal-miner.jpgMy earliest memories of the coal camp were when I was around five years old.  I seemed to have a blank year when I was four years old.  There were no big barns, no corn fields, no strawberries, and no grandma & grandpa.  However, there were train tracks right in front of our house and it made our house squeak when it passed.  As the miners mined the coal, the train carried it down the tracks and dumped it on barges in the Kanawha River.

The engineer on the train was Mr. Lackey and I would stand and wait for him to pass.  I started waving at him and before long he would wave back.  I suppose he really liked me and he started throwing me pieces of candy when he passed our house.  I made the mistake of telling the other kids and before long they were all waiting beside the tracks , waving and waiting for candy.  I don’t know what happened, but before long Mr. Lackey stopped leaving candy.  Go figure.

coal-camp.jpgMany of the people living in Mammoth had names that were very strange to me.  There were several people from Germany and Italy.  Mrs. Gadget lived across the road and she couldn’t speak a word of English.  She ran a boarding house for miners who needed a place to live.  My mom said she had really mean kids and they played in the road all the time.  One day her youngest child was playing near the railroad tracks and the train ran over his arm and cut it off.  My mom said, “I knew that was going to happen.”

There was an old “beer joint” down the road and a scary old man by the name of Mr. Borasky was the owner.  He had a daughter and her name was Carolyn Borasky.  Carolyn was probably 10 years older than me and I would see her walk up the road.  She was very fat, had curly hair and wore bib overalls.  My mom and dad would not let me associate with this family.

Larry Hudnall lived beside us and he was a mean little boy and could “cuss like a sailor”.  My mom said he heard this kind of talk from his parents.  I didn’t know what it meant to cuss, but Larry was using some words that were very new and exciting to me.  I thought I would try out of few of them on my parents and make them very proud of me.  I went into the house and ripped out a few d….. and h…..words and my parents turned pale.  I didn’t get a spanking and they took time to explain that the words were bad.  I was supposed to tell Larry not to use these words when we played, but he just kept cussing.

Lynn Hudnall lived on the other side of our house and he had great big brown eyes.  He reminded me of a cute little mouse.  I am sorry to say, but I sort of took advantage of Lynn.  I could talk him into anything.  Lynn and I would play jump rope by tying one end to the fence post and one person turn the rope and the other person could jump.  When it was Lynn’s turn to jump I would “give him hot pepper” (turn the rope really fast).  Of course he would start crying and I would swear I didn’t do anything.

Chapters in future BLOG articles:

1.  Carol Ann Could Write In Cursive Writing

2.  Getting Put in Probation in 2nd Grade

3.  The Company Store

4.  The Edens Family

5.  My Dad Was Saved

6.  I Have a Little Sister

7.  Black and White Schools

8.  The Pringles

9.  The Sirens Mean Death

10.  Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs

11.  First Grade