|ONE OF MANY LETTERS FROM AROUND USA|
Dear Mr. Weaver,
I found your wonderful site through an email from a friend in Chloe, WV, when she sent me an article from your publication. Upon reading that you are no longer publishing I was saddened to realize such a heritage was being lost.
I have enjoyed all the stories in your archives and they are truly gems. It makes me so sad to realize that we will never again be blessed with a generation of Americans who had the courage and fortitude to carve out a life in such rugged environments as these people did.
My own forefathers came from Ireland, Scotland and England and made it to Kanawha County. My beloved grandmother told me stories of her parents who settled on Aarons Fork, near Elkview.
She said the first thing they did was to put up a small one room cabin which had a dirt floor and then they got busy clearing a spot for a garden. They had somehow herded a few hogs and a cow to their land. She said most of that first spring and summer they had only milk, cornbread and onions as a diet.
They raised six children and as things began to improve, those six children were able to buy small farms of their own. My grandmother and grandfather had 255 acres, most of it on hillsides, but they did have enough level ground for a large garden and a cellar house where they kept the bounty of their labor.
I can remember the smells of that divine room. My grandmother had pickled corn and beans, the onions, potatoes, turnips, etc., were also stored there in large bins. She also had shelves filled with all kind of delicacies. She even canned sausage which was wonderful with her homemade biscuits, eggs, fried potatoes, gravy and fresh tomatoes in the summer.
I read your article on the 1950s which is the era I grew up in. There never was nor never will be another decade like it. The young people were polite and honored their family. I had three male cousins on the farm adjacent to ours who each graduated summa cum laude from college.
They could not afford a car, so each of them when their time came, thumbed to school and back. One became a college professor and later a writer, one moved to Illinois and retired from a high position in the State government, and the third retired from Dow Chemical and then became a world recognized wine connoisseur.
I am very proud of them as I know how hard they worked to achieve their dreams.
I was not able to go to college but I graduated from high school in Elkview and continued to read and learn. I moved to Florida with my family in the 1960s in order for my husband to find work and I went to work for a law firm.
I did a great deal of real estate closings and met people from all walks of life and many with Ph'ds. I was always so proud of my teachers who gave me such a wonderful education that I was never to feel inferior to anyone due to my lack of a college education. In fact, my boss, who graduated from Florida State was always asking me for answers to his questions. I don't say this to brag on myself, but to give kudos to those wonderful educators I had.
I just wish I could tell them.
I am so deeply grateful to all those wonderful people you have in your archives and to their memory. Truly, we shall never see the likes of them again.
My grandparents left me so much more than their DNA, they left me with a humbleness of heart, a desire to make them proud of me, and a longing to see them again one day.
God bless you for caring so much about these unique and wonderful people and for keeping their stories and strengths alive.
I have been deeply touched by them.
Juanita Morris Hawkins
Hope is a thing with feathers that perches in the soul, and sings the tune without words and never stops at all. Emily Dickinson