"MY WORLD, MY UNIVERSE" - Hathaway Recalls Universal Connection


Sunrise at Russett, Calhoun County, after a night of stargazing wonderment, December 1, 2006
(Photo courtesy of Linda Peck)

By Bob Weaver 2006

Former Calhoun resident, the late David Barr Hathaway, like many Herald readers, was inspired by the outstanding photographs of the universe taken from Calhoun County Park ("Calhoun's Night Sky Will Take Your Breath Away"), recalling his youthful connection to the galaxy.

"It was a time when the office of principal of the Calhoun High School was a revolving door, a succession of principals during World War II.

This year George Deahl was the principal. He also taught 9th grade general science. Mr. Deahl had a great interest in astronomy and to that end he developed a great unit for us.

The classroom was on the top floor corner facing the football field and Route 16 (unlike Ohio, in Calhoun it was sometimes difficult for me to determine which direction was north and south).

As we studied the constellations of the winter sky, we glued stars on the classroom ceiling to represent their locations.

In addition to those shown in the Herald's article, we learned many others, including Ursa Major & Minor, Cassiopeia and we could readily locate Polaris, the North Star.

Four years later when I found myself in North Africa serving with the 91st Infantry Division, I was worried about being so far from home and feeling very lonely.

Home in Calhoun seemed so remote until the first night I bedded down in the desert night.

Looking up into the clear desert air, I suddenly discovered old familiar friends I had learned in Mr. Deahl's general science class and those constellations we placed on the ceiling.

Suddenly, my mind was at ease as I realized I was still in familiar territory - my world, my universe.

Our general science class had one night field trip to a field near the top of Nighcut hill. No one had a telescope of any power, but many of us had field glasses which allowed us to come closer to those wonderfully clear Calhoun skies, even then.

George Deahl's father was a noted educator in West Virginia. University High School in Morgantown was named Deahl Hall in his honor.

At that time UHS was a laboratory school, part of the WVU College of Education, and not part of the county system.

My wife and I both did our student teaching in Deahl Hall in preparation for our careers.