I’ve been in Michigan since 1971 but the air, mountains, rock, and water from West Virginia are ingrained in my heart and soul. I utterly miss everything about WV. The mountains are majestic and I have great memories of wandering around the woods up on the mountain. I have always loved nature. Some of my best memories were when we lived out in the country when I was five or six. We lived on the side of a mountain so the land was terraced. Where the house was there was a flat terrace, then it dropped down about ten to fifteen feet to a flat area that was our yard and then down another ten feet to where the road was. The drive up to the house cut into the hill and was a pretty steep incline. At the back of the house where the flat part stopped there was a concrete block wall that held the hill back. At one end that was fourteen feet tall and became lower as it progressed to the right when you were facing it. At the other end it was only two feet tall. My sister and I would play on the wall and take chances we shouldn’t have but we did it anyway. Above the wall was one more plateau after you climbed a bit and on it was a hand-built cabin that my Dad built. We loved that cabin which was full size but a small one room cabin. It was a great place to play. It was beautiful on the mountain with blooming rhododendron, birds and wildlife. This is where my love of God’s creation began. The one thing that I didn’t like in nature at that age was snakes. They gave me the heebie-geebies! One day I was up on the mountain and saw a harmless garter snake which spurred my flight response. I started running down the mountain as fast as I could. I was probably screaming my head off but all I remember is running faster than I had ever run. This is not especially a good idea when you live on a mountain. I made it to the wall and started running down the wall toward the shorter end so I could get off. About two or three steps down the wall, I lost my footing and fell down the side of the wall staying in contact with it all the way down. My Mom heard the commotion and knew that something bad had happened. She came out and found me in a crying heap at the bottom of the wall with scrapes all the way down my body. Boy did I look like a mess. All of my memories were good there except for that one.
I learned to ride a bicycle there. My Dad was so frugal. He bought me a brand new, full-sized bike. I was six and short! Luckily that didn’t deter me. The first part of the drive down the hill was at a right angle to the rest of the down-hill plunge. It was also not so steep as the rest of the drive. I would straddle the bike at the beginning of the drive, carefully step on the first pedal, start rolling and step up on the second pedal and ride down the incline standing on the pedals. In the beginning I almost always crashed at the bottom of the hill till I got the gist of pedal brakes. I would stop it then jump down with both feet at the same time. It was a long time before I could sit on the seat.
I was always the youngest and my sister that was three and a half years older, would have friends over and when they played outside I would try to keep up but invariably would bring up the end of the group. They called me “The Little Red Caboose”. My hair was a little reddish long, long ago.
My Life was good as I grew up and I loved my family. My Dad loved to eat and loved good food so that is where I got my love for food and my adventurous spirit for trying new things. What I didn’t get was good eating habits which brings me to my goal now; to have healthy food that at the same time tastes good cause I love good tasting food. It should be enjoyed.
Well, I didn’t tell you much about my past in West Virginia but I will tell you that no matter how many years I live here nor how much I love Michigan with all its Lakes, I will always miss West Virginia. That is where my heart will stay. My Mother and Dad have both passed away but I have my older sister. After my Mom died my Dad met my Step-Mother and they married and they adopted a little baby boy after I was grown and had moved away. I completely got to know my brother on the phone, computer, and Skype. We have visited a few times through the years but it’s mostly been through technology. I long to see my Step-Mother, Brother and Sister. I don’t get to travel much and haven’t been home in a long time. I am so thankful for Phones and Skype. They make the distance a little shorter! Ahhh technology, I love it!
The picture at the top of the post is taken by James Easter. He lives in Saint Albans, WV and he takes beautiful pictures. The picture that I renamed, “A Little Bit of West Virginia Heaven”, is not the most beautiful scene from WV that he has taken. It is one that I connect with even more than the gorgeous mountains, valleys, bridges, rivers or creeks you would find on tourist postcards. The reason I connect with this picture is that we traveled on many country road and this was a scene I saw repeatedly along those road. Some of these streams would be fed by tiny streams coming down the mountain or would come, like a miniature waterfall, cascading down the face of the jagged rocks that lined the roads. I loved this sight most of all. I loved many other pictures taken by James Easter but like I said this one connected to me the most. Because of things I lived with in West Virginia, I love the
sound of water and amazing rocks both large massive ones or small ones with colored designs running through them. These things have affected the things I do now. I have lots of plants. My affinity for rocks and rock walls has me planting in rock walled beds and living by the water. Every big rock with colorful veins running through it I see along the way, I’ll say to my husband, “Can I have that?” and he will say, “When you can lift it and put it in the trunk, then you can have it.” It’s a standing joke! I would have big boulders around my house if I could. When I die, I would like a boulder with a plaque attached for my grave marker. That’s all, I don’t want much!
Well that’s my story or a little bit of it. Glad I could share it with you. Come and visit again, anytime. I love company!
Tell me about the things that you make you homesick. What things have you taken from your past and brought into the future with you. I would love to hear about it.
Thanks again and See you soon. Jan