Sunday, January 23, 2011

History Lessons

When history has receded so far into the past that we can't remember the details, a call is made to the eldest of my siblings.
Just last night I was reminded of my limitations on memory so today I called upon the eldest for information.
A few questions asked of him, and the ball was rolling. I made a few notes but not enough. Some day in the near future, I hope to sit down with him with paper and pencil  and record more information. Most of my aunts and uncles are gone along with my parents. Our line to the past has stretched thin and the stories are quickly becoming vague and soon will disappear. 

As my brother mentioned the places we lived and the years we were there, he listed the neighbors, many of whom just the name tickled my memory. Faces long forgotten, the names remain in my memory lost to recall on my own.
Apparently my family moved off of the grandparents property where we were born in Kanawaha County, to work a construction job at what was to become Kaiser Aluminum. This plant would become the major source of income for many of the people in the area. I've always wondered why we moved away but never once questioned.

The year was 1955 and I was six years old. The parents found a house on Sycamore Creek, a two story white farmhouse where we lived until 1958. I can remember this house, the bannister going to the second floor and also  walking down the road to the "y" where the bus picked us up. The other memories of this place was riding the horse bareback to the mulberry tree and standing on his back while we picked the fruit off the tree, the young fellow from up the road that had fallen off of  something causing a break in his elbow, his hand no longer faced in the normal direction. This wasn't a new injury and was never addressed by a doctor. I was fascinated which proably accounts for the memory in my meager store from that time.  This was a rental property and I wonder who rented to a family with seven children? These days, a dog is a liability when renting.
 Apparently, at age 9, our next move   was to Little Creek where the parents purchased a farm and in the years following, they added two more farms to their holdings.
By 1963 another move was made into the town of Ripley when the parents split. From that time until 1972, I lived in this small town. The next years of my life's whereabouts would cover most of the USA.

Occasionally someone will message me on Facebook with information on the family from their own perspective and I'm always amazed by the information I gather from these short interactions. As children we forget other people were involved in our lives. Our worlds appear narrowed down to parents and siblings with an outer aura containing friends and acquaintances  of the family.
This brother the eldest was a heavy equipment operator and worked all over the state. I remember his returns home, the trunk of his car full of iced down sodas and a jar of coins which we quickly relieved him of. He was quick to loan his car and never once complained about the sodas or the missing change.

When he had money, he would share which probably explains why with all the money he has earned, he remains negative of any savings. His home is a collection of parts and pieces. He barters and trades and is happy amongst his disarray, junk and clutter. I haven't been to his spread,(said with special emphasis on the word  "spread"), but I've had reports.

I'm thankful his spread doesn't adjoin mine. I like neat.

If anyone could claim the title of "a character" this would wrap its arms around this brother. He is but one of seven and each one, though raised in the same house, are unique in their own way. I like that word. Unique. It describes without judgement and that's how it should be.


  1. My sis and I used to talk about people, places, and events. Many times I found her memories were quite different from mine. So much so to invalidate at least one set of memories.

  2. Thank's for the lesson, it is always amazing how two people can look at the same thing and see something completly different.

  3. It's strange how our memories can be quite different sometimes from those of our family and friends. It's quite nice to gather all these different memories together and make a bigger picture.

  4. Buffalo: depending on the story teller..the views can be quite skewed from what I remember.

    John: It's all about perspective.

    Linda...yes, the puzzles sometimes fit or sometimes a missing piece is collected!


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