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Glenville, West Virginia
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June 16, 2016     The Glenville Democrat
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June 16, 2016
 

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The Glenville Pathfinder - Glenville, WV 26351 The Glenville Democrat - Tharsday, Jane 16, 2016 - Page 3 B The Annual Normantown School Alumni Association Meeting My wife, English teacher and wordsmith, put it all into perspective. The oc- casion was the 2016 Normantown High School Alumni Association meet- ing held on Saturday of Memorial Day weekend past. The social hours had melted away, the president had adjourned the business meeting, the evening meal had been enjoyed, and now as the attendees were pre- paring to depart the school campus for the final time, the bit of philosophy was shared. She offered the view that the graduates should be more GLAD for the treasure of a valued education and cherished memories, than to be SAD that the era was ending. Indeed, it had concluded a several hours earlier when the last students, faculty and staff had departed for' summer vacation with the expectation of a new au- tumn experience to come. The graduates and at- tendees present that day were ostensibly different people than when they trod the hallowed halls of the school. Influenced by the human maturation process and many by jobs, mar- riage, parenthood, new ge- ography and new friends, and perhaps a larger world in general, each had expe- rienced a metamorphous, however much or little re- alized. Yet, we came for one last time to revitalize friendships and memories. Having passed from youth to retirement years, at least for most of us, the remark- able thing is that at our very core remained the life val- ues that we had learned from our parents, teachers and people in the commu- nity decades earlier. Among the many con- versations and testimonies that afternoon, the most common topic embraced the excellence of the fac- ulty members of the 30's, "Burning the midnight oil." As a couple of examples, first there was the FFA In- ternational Land Judging Champions of the 1960's. The teacher and four stu- dent team members trav- eled to Oklahoma City, OK in a Ford Falcon. Subse- quent to having arrived a little early to prepare for the experience at that loca- tion, the team won the com- petition. Of course, the team had also previously won competitions within the area and the state to qualify to go to Oklahoma. Not only did they win, two students achieved perfect scores, and two achieved near perfect scores. Re- markably, the team score record still stands today, one-halfcenturylater. Sec- ond, there was the basket- ball team that won the state tournament in 1945 during an era when there were no classifications. There are so many stories that have emanated from this event that retelling them here would serve little purpose. Later, two members of this team were members of the Glenville State College state championship team. On this team, all five start- ers were Gilmer County lads. Can you imagine that happening in today's world? The first thoughts of school remaining in my cognition, were constituted by the fretting of a 5-year old mind about how I could find the room to where I was supposed to go my first day of school. In spite of my Mother's reassurances as we waited for the bus to arrive, my concerns lin- gered. Not even that huge first step to board the bus proved to be problematic, but there remained the worry. Our revered first grade teacher came to the rescue, opening the door for largely the next twelve years of my life from Sep- 40's, 50's, and 60's... mbertoMay. Re ing to the' ch ir/ e,fom- in homage to a teacher who years later as a faculty had impacted and influ- enc&l the life of the teller. These were true stories about faculty members relatively devoid of threats of being sued, and not bur- dened in their minds by extra time and effort. A common thread of the re- ports included manifesta- tions of genuine caring for the students in the form of instruction, counsel and encouragement by the in- structors. As the faculty members were in so many cases our role models, we were also influenced by other stu- dents, especially those who had gone on before and who we looked up to as our he- roes. It has been said that one of the things which makes our country great is not only the admirationthat we hold for those leading and helping 'us today, but the manner in which we memorialize those who preceded us and who had a positive effect upon us. This writer can remember as a youth looking up to a man who became deputy State Superintendent of Schools, and a lady who became a State Senator, and students who became sue- cessful in business, and in the professions. Equally important, I can recall look- ingupto older students who were nice to us younger ones. Also, those who in adulthood may not have grabbed headlines,but who became the backbone of our society through faithful- ness to family, commitment to meaningful productivity as employees, and as vol- unteers in their respective communities. Then, there were the stu- dents whose achievements became legendary in the local community as well as wider circles. The moun- tain tops that were con- quered raised the perceived life ceilings for many of the rest of us. We were given the gift of realizing that accomplishing lofty goals was possible with preparation, dedication, and as one teacher said, member, I was blessed to see the institution from an- other perspective. Even as I look back today, my first thought is, "So many good kids and so many support- ive parents and community members." Speaking of different perspectives, the events of this spring have triggered a mental review of public education history in West Virginia. World War II largely led to the demise of the one-room schools over a period of several years. When many of our heroes came home from war, they went to college on the GI bill or took jobs in industry in more urban areas. The net result was that many of the hillside farms were abandoned and the enroll- ments in the one-room schools dwindled to the ex- tent that it was not ping- marie to keep them open. As the post war economy boomed, youth left our state for employment opportu- nities elsewhere. Remem- ber when recent high school graduates would return home on weekends driving shiny new cars? The con- tinued loss of population generated circumstances which occasioned difficult decisions about local high schools in the 1960's and later. In more recent years this phenomenon has ex- tended to elementary schools. As a career teacher and administrator I under- stand the educational and fiscal reasons for the ne- cessity of school consoli- dation, but as a teacher at NHS when it closed I also understand the other side of such issues. In rural communities the school was not only the educa- tional center, it was often also the cultural and social center of the area. People associated losing their school with the dying of their immediate commu- nity, not to mention the genuine concern about the longer bus rides required of their sons and daugh- ters. We have all heard many times that in this life we may not escape death and taxes. In addition to these two occurrences, it is pur- ported that another inevi- table force that we all face is change. Perhaps this ar- gument can be more easily made from the frame of reference of the golden years. It is somewhat fas- cinating to look back for decades, think about changes and attempt to classify them as bad or good, positive or negative, and desirable or undesir- able. Regardless, the hu- man element is swept along with or through these changes. It seems that our happiness and prosperity largely depend upon our attitude about the changes and our adaptability to them. As it was with many good memories and a tinge of sadness to walk away from the Normantown School campus, it was also with tremendous appreciation for those from past years who made our lives better and helped cultivate our happiness and successes. It is similarly with great passion that we wish for the students who left that campus in late May (and those to follow from DeKalb District), that they may begin a new experi- ence this autumn that makes their school years as fine as was ours, and that their new achievements and memories may be great in number and exquisite inna- ture. SO MAY IT BEI Ferry Ride Across the Ohio River By Jeanette Riffle Shock, WV One of my friends and her husband took a boat ride across the Ohio River re- cently to Blelmerhassett Is- land and she sent me some pictures on FB. It reminded me of the time that I went across with my Warner grandparents and Mom. Dad was off fighting inWW 11. It's just a flash of memory but Morn carried me on this big flat bot- tomed thing a n d Mamaw walked on with us. Pa- paw drove the car on. There was a man up front at the engine. When I got older, I asked her what was going on and she said that Papaw Warner's sister, Lizzy Doak, lived across the Ohio River on an island and them were no bridges back then to go across on. They wanted to go see her and it took all day to get there, visit and go home. That would have been an exciting event for them because at that time gasoline might have been rationed and a trip would have been expensive. They would have had to save theirration stamps untilthey had enough to go there and back. Tires and everything was rationed during the war. This would have been late summeror early faU of 1945. They lived on Crooked Run in Gilmer County. I Googled a ferry boat and a barge and the barge looks more like what I remember seeing but there was a man up front at the engine.I rememberhear- ing the roar of the engine when we took off. A ferry is a merchant ves- sel used to carry passengers and sometimes vehicles and cargo. It transports passen- gers, vehicles, ect., a short distance between two places; a boat that ferries people and things. Ferry boats often dock at specialized designed facili- ties to position the boat and unloading called a ferry slip. A'barge is a roomy flat-bot- tomed boat used chiefly for the transport of goods on flat barge but maybe it was a ferry. I have written my first book and found a place at Nutter Fort to have it printed. I have talked to some old timers who gave me stories of this area and about the first pioneers here. My hus- band told me some of his inland waterways and usu- ally propelled by towing, sometimes by pushing. Old ferry boats were a cross be- tween a barge and a boat. The one I was on had an engine. It probably had apro- peller. There is a stern wheeler with paddies on the back. A ferry would not have had that. So,my friend went across on a ferry boat and I wondered what that thing was that I went across on. The Google sure comes in handy sometimes. I took a picture of the one that looks the most like what I remem- ber seeing, except ours was more roomy that this one. I thought we went across on a memories. I went with the theme of Shock and told shock- ing stories and then got into the his- tory of this place and how it got it's name. Also,I wrote about us liv- ing out of state and try- ing to get home to WV for holidays in bad weather,the people who built the Shock log cabin, and all who lived in it through the years. I got into the geneal- ogy of Fletcher Stout as he was the last person to pur- chase the cabin and was an uncle of Duane's uncle, Ralph Perrine. We heard so much about him through the years. He died a tragic death and things were never the same at the log cabin. My mother was also re- lated to him. If interested, please send $20 to me: Jeanette Riffle, 7457 Rosedale Rd. Rosedale , WV 26636. I can have more printed if necessary. Send me your address and we can mail them out. I Puofeesforml Photo Reseouatfon & CopgM9 Famtlb, Pbotofluapbb, 3 2.4061 wwwJeaMesvlew.cem ' i I i III III We Americans are proud of our great country and support our tr0ops fighting terrorism abroad. The symbol of 0ur nation's great strength is its democracy as evidenced by the American Flag which we honor and fly high on this f:hg Day... fly the American Flag all week! Dis#lay your Flag all Week in Observance of Tues.-Sun., June 1#t"-19h Fly your American Flag proudly all week and thank you for doing your share to make all Americans proud and patriotic during our Mountain State's celebration of National Flag Day/In America and in West Virginia, every citizen counts/ Sponsored by -- House of Delegates 34th District, representing Gilmer & Braxton Counties POLITICAL ADYERTISE~: PO, FOR BY t14E BOGGS FOR HOUSE BRENDA I/~t.LOHAK TREAS,