SUNNY CAL JOURNAL - Pauline Said Goodbye To Joker


Pauline has given-up on the backwoods, as she has grown older

The Craddock's brought a piece of the old house's wall,
a terse reminder to pay taxes during the depression (1933)

By Bob Weaver 2004

During Grantsville's bustling heyday citizen's would crowd the streets on Saturday to shop, trade, visit, get drunk, go to the movies or just sit in their cars and watch each other.

Familiar were the Craddocks, a family from the Bee Creek backwoods who rose early, spiffed-up and walked out of the holler, traveling down lower Pine Creek and over the steep hill that shadows Grantsville from the evening sun.

It was not the easiest of walks.

Not unlike other visitors, they "stood around" to meet and greet their friends, briefly getting lunch at the hot dog diner to return to the street life which lasted well into the evening.

The Craddocks eventually moved up from walking. Until a short time ago, Dale King would take his car around the Joker to fetch the remaining clan to Grantsville to shop, mostly to Garland's Grocery before it closed.

We have frequently written about these gentle folks, who later moved from the dark woods to the lesser dark woods of Joker Ridge, where for many years they were the only residents.

They were the best of neighbors, the most gracious of souls.

Roy, Averil and Bessie died in recent years, leaving sister Pauline (Hamlin) and her son Bill to keep the home fire going. One year ago, after suffering through the ice storm and no communication or access to the outside world, they decided to move to Bramblewood Apartments on Vaughan Road.

"A big tree fell on the house, nearly scared us to death," said Pauline. "Not only did we lose the lights and the phone, the road was blocked in lots of places."

Recalling her childhood "living off the land" during the Great Depression, she said "I appreciate every little thing I got, nowadays," showing her family pictures and mementos.

Since neither Pauline or her son drive, "Coming to Bramblewood has been good since we can catch the bus to town." She praised the management of the small housing project and said "It has been a grace to have such good neighbors."

"I did fall and hurt my arm a few weeks ago, and got all the help I needed," she said.

The Joker Ridge is not the same without her, but there are newcomers, almost a housing boom with three or four houses being built.

They're even building electric lines.

"I think I belong here now (Bramblewood)," she concluded.

Since this article, Pauline and all the Craddocks have passed. Read numerous stories on Hur Herald.