Sunday, October 2, 2011

Book Inspired Trip

   My siblings and I recently came across a hand written partial memoir of our grandfather's.  It describes part of his life growing up in a small coal mining town, his time in the war, teaching coal mining for the college, and his meeting and raising my dad and his siblings.  Besides the whole story being interesting, one part caught a couple of our eyes.  He was sent to this small town in WV about an hour and half from where I am called Thurmond, WV.  He was sent there when he was 12 years old to live with his older sister.  He started working in the mines and befriended an African American couple and their father.  He lived in Thurmond on and off till he was about 15.  He eventually return to bury the couple somewhere in the woods over looking the valley.  Apparently he placed some grave stones engraving buried by him.  My two cousins and I decided to take a long weekend trip to Thurmond in order to hike through the forest in search of places that he described in his book. 

   Once we arrived we quickly learned that the town is no longer what it used to be.  Only 5 people still live in Thurmond and the neighboring town that he actually stayed in no longer exists.  In fact there is no evidenced of any town every being there.  We met with the local forestry office and discovered that when the coal mines owned most of the towns, when they closed the mines, they picked up everything they owned and moved.  This included that town, the buildings, houses, etc.  We still had a great time wondering and hiking the woods in our Pops old tracks.  Funny how even a short story can inspire a trip of a life time.  Miss you Grandpa.