Thursday, April 30

Style Parade

Did you ever realize what would happen to a man trying to write something about what our women should wear, regardless if it was on a fishing trip, to a dance, or to church?

When’s the last time you looked at the most beautiful, popular girl in school—the one who always looks stylish and put-together—and said to yourself, “Gee, she’d look great in a potato sack?" While it is true that beauty comes from the inside, everyone wants to look good on the outside.

Most of you that have asked me to express my opinion in regard to the Sack dresses as you call them, have been somewhat above the teenage group. Far be it from me to enter into the style parade. As far as I am concerned the Sack Dresses are for you that like them. We men have no choice in the matter. I judge that some of you can wear them, and maybe some of you can’t. I would say your size and age would have a lot to do with it. No doubt one dress of this type maybe could not have been too fitting for you, where it could have been for others. I don’t care if the women wear overalls, slacks, or whatever name you want to call them. Regardless if it is sacks, slacks, overalls, coveralls, or whatever it might be. ...1958

Wednesday, April 29

The Neighborhood

Liberty Street was a good place to live even though our house sat on Chester Street, we called our address Liberty. So many good people lived there when I was growing up. It was not seedy, run down, etc. Those were hard working people and they kept what they had looking good. The families that lived there were truly family oriented. The Campbells, the Bairds, the Fitzpatricks, the Lootens, the McDaniels, the Shepherds, the Nogers, the Combs, the Gilberts, the Sally family, the Keiths, Felix Feltner and his son-in-law, the Baughs. We played under the street lights while the old folks sat on their porches watching over us. I remember the day the street was paved. I loved the dirt street but Dad told me when the street was finished I could skate and that done it right there. You might not picture this but my folks would sit on their porch, hold conversations with the folks next door, to the side of us and across the street. That is how quiet it was back then. I remember when they were to build that big water tank and how frightened I was that it would leak and wash us all away.Most of my childhood memories are of Liberty Street. I was born there in 1933 and lived in the same house until I married.

Hazard and Harlan are pretty well known. I found this out when I went to San Diego to live while my husband -Tom was doing a Navy stint. I walked up to the corner drugstore to get a cola and was hoping that they had heard of cherry cokes. I sat down on a stool and ordered "please, a cherry coke". No problem, the fellow brought it right up. I said, "What about a chocolate coke?" He said, "want one, no problem." He had listened closely and knew that my brogue was not from that area so he said, "Are you from Kentucky or Texas?" I told him Kentucky. He asked me what town and I told him "Hazard" and husband from "Harlan". The pharmacist said, "Well, I know where you are from very well." With that he started naming off little places, i. e., Blue Diamond, Pigeon Roost, Glomawr, Vicco, etc. My mouth was a-gape for sure for I just knew I had found someone from my hometown. It turned out that he was a Jewel Tea salesman and his route was what he had voiced to me. Needless to say we had a lot to talk about and I went daily to that corner drug to get a cherry coke.

Tuesday, April 28

GWTW Hazard Premier

Gone With The Wind was first shown in Hazard at the Family Theater from April 28th - May 1st 1940. Because most small town theaters could not afford first run movies, they usually were not seen until a year or two after their original release. Hazard managed to get Gone With The Wind just four months after its World Premier in Atlanta, Georgia in December of 1939 thanks to theater owner, L. O. Davis. But because it was so expensive, the Family Theater had to up their ticket price of 35 cents to $1.20, a lot of money for the price of admission in 1940. A matinee viewing of Gone With The Wind in Hazard was 75 cents. P. B. Huff, owner of Huff's Barber Shop in Hazard, offered Gone With The Wind hairdos in 1940.

I probably went to the movies at the Family & Virginia as much as anybody, especially the Horse Operas and Serials on Saturday. I was nine when Gone With The Wind hit the Hazard screen. I remember adults complaining about the price of the tickets. Back then you could buy a ticket and go into the movie at anytime, you did not have to be there at the very beginning. Gone With The Wind was the first movie in Hazard where the public was asked to come in and be seated at the beginning. Also, back then, the kids would come in from the coal camps all around and they only had coal company script, no money. Both theaters accepted that but I think it cost them an extra nickel.I remember a very unusual thing that happened when I went to see the movie. Near the end, when Rhett Butler grabbed Scarlett and carried her up the stairs, two at a time, to the bedroom, the entire audience gasped all at once. They had NEVER seen anything like that before. Not in Hazard, anyway.

Monday, April 27

Teamus Reynolds

Teamus Reynolds owned and operated an artificial limb shop that was located on High Street. I am sure there was not another shop like this unless you went to Lexington, which at that time was a good distance away over curvy roads. I know when I would go up High Street on my way to school, his place of business was always full. That indicated to me that he was a caring person, not only for his family, but the people who needed his services.

Teamus and his wife Beatrice Baker Reynolds were the ideal couple in my childhood realm. When I would go to their house with Granny, almost daily, Teamus would either be getting ready to go to work or just coming in when we got ready to leave. I didn't get to visit with him very much but I remember his loving way with his wife, "Beat", and his little mother-in-law, Aunt Nan. Teamus had a daughter, Juanita, who married John Sheegog, and she operated the Draft Board for many years. I also remember Teamus' son, Glenn, who loved fishing and hunting. His wife was one of the Librarians at the High School.

Sunday, April 26

Family Way

Miriam Dobyns, one of our local music teachers had a very harrowing experience a few weeks ago. It seems that she had a sick Cocker Spaniel that belonged to her grandchildren. Knowing Miriam as I do, she would go to the other side of the world to take care of anything that belonged to those kids. Her son, Jimmy, as I have always knowed him by, is her only son. To make a long story short, Miriam traveled all the way to Lexington to find out what was wrong with the kid's dog. From what I can learn the vet's report was the dog was going to have a family. He assured Miriam that it was nothing to worry about, that it would be several days. Miriam in relief, started on her way back to our fair city. She stopped at Dalton's Bus Stop in Stanton, Kentucky, yes, to get a cup of coffee and a sandwich. Low and behold she found that she was in the middle of a midwife operation because the unexpected thing had happened. From what I can learn she did a nice job. All puppies are O.K. Miriam is now thinking of hanging out her shingle to practice as a vet on all dogs. A mother's love folks will go a long way since Jimmy is a doctor., now no doubt that he will help his mother in regard to the immediate remedies of such occasions in the future." 1957

UPDATE: Response from Miriam's son - James: My mother loved Hazard and I am pleased that Hazard remembers her. Wherever there was music or drama in her Hazard, she was there and, of course, this was no more evident than in her home where the `love list' went from students, to birds (canaries which she loved to entice onto her head and hands) to dogs (several Shelties and Spaniels were usually present) and, of course, any children or grandchildren who happened to be present. She supplied the entire family and many friends with dogs and tried to do the same with the canaries. The only surprising thing about Roscoe Davis' story is that Miriam went to Lexington to get the diagnosis. She had the lore of a veterinarian and midwived many dog families in her time. I'm not sure how many of the pups in the story made their way into the home with my wife, three boys and myself but we never had more than two at a time, as I recall. Miriam could not be limited by such small numbers. If there is a separate heaven for dogs, she may be there. James H. Dobyns

Saturday, April 25

The Depot

It stands forsaken with the passing of time, a remembrance of the past when the old passengers, chugged along its tracks having clouds of drak black smoke to the horizon.

A monument well-worn with age where once men stood along its platform talking over politics and smoking pipes while cedar shavings fell in a heap around their feet and women clad in their Sunday best huddled together discussing recipes and new babies while the children waited in anxiety for the conductor to appear and yell, "All aboard!

Today, almost hidden by the vines growing around its frame silent it stands while the diesels roar by never once stopping at its door -- alone, a cast - a way lost in a world of automation. The laughter of the children has died away. Men and women gather no more, but still it waits in the solitude of a forgotten era.

Friday, April 24

What's the rush?

Brown Baker dropped in early in the morning, he got up off his seat and stated he had to go. I asked him what was the rush. He replied that he had to get to the court house before some one got his seat. I thought some important trial was coming up, or a special Judge had been sent in. As he went out the door I noticed a piece of cedar that looked like a two by four sticking from his hip pocket. It dawned on me that there is so few shady spots around the Perry County Court House, realizing that all the hot weather we have been having. Brown didn’t want to do his whittling in the sun. Can’t say I blame him. Whittling on a piece of cedar can become rather tiresome. Course it depends on what you are trying to make from it. I have known persons to became famous for their whittling on cedar and other types of woods, making walking canes, putting marbles in them and other such contraptions.

I remember the days when you didn’t see a suit of clothes. How many of you were in your teens before you ever knew what a pair of pants looked like? Remember, I said pants, not trousers. I have shinned up and down many a tree with the bark cutting into my thighs. Yes during chestnut and hickory nut time. Then the styles changed to knee britchies and Brogan shoes. I guess that is the reason so many of us walk pigeon toed today. You sure didn’t have the freedom in those tight fitting knee britches as we had in those long shirts. It was alright to get your knees barked scaling a tree, but when you had on this knee britches it didn’t take too much scaling a hickory or chestnut tree to wear them out close to the knees. How many times have you fellows pulled them off? Along about that time came along the Brogan shoes with a cap on them to keep you from stubbing them off. Reminds me of a preacher back in my boyhood days that got him a pair of Brogans. They must have been about two sizes too small. He proceeded to use his Barlow knife on them. He cut them every way you could think of to get some comfort to his feet. That night he got up to preach to his faithful group. He started his sermon out, “Good folks, I want to tell you I am more holley than righteous tonight.”

Thursday, April 23

Mountain Hide-a-way

Welcome to my mountain hide-a-way, tranquility personified, where majestic oaks stand guard as somber wooden soldiers, their outstretched arms providing a shaded retreat. Occasionally, the sun, cat-like, creeps through, casting its warm rays on bits and pieces of sandstone, creating the glittery illusion of a leprechaun’s enchanted treasure.

This is my magical, mystical realm exquisitely carpeted by moist green moss. The solitude is broken only by the excited chatter of the birds flitting from tree to tree warbling out a tuneful welcome. My wise, old, nocturnal friend is very inquisitive as he gives out with “Who? Who?”

This is my stage from which I proudly perform for the denizen creatures curious watching from their varied positions on the mountainside overlooking Liberty Street and my beloved Big Bottom. Here, my dreams become reality. I may be Betty Grable, the bashful blond, Esther Williams, the aquatic beauty, or perhaps Jane Eyre as I tutor my handmade stick dolls gala adorned in elaborate gowns of satiny green leaves.

This is my circus, nature’s own center ring. With my mouth agape I sit mesmerized by spirited squirrels, little forest trapeze artists, as they run pell mell up and down the sturdy oaks. My astonished gasp does not disturb their minute accuracy as they shoot out and catch a limb.

This is my playhouse, fabulously furnished from my mind’s whirlwind storehouse. With a wave of my magic wand, a stone here, a toadstool there, is transformed into an elegant sofa and chair. A rock-carved table uniquely displays a bluish-green coca cola bottle, taken from its bed in the creek, from which a fancy bouquet of daises, blue bells, red snake flowers and dandelions send forth a nose-tickling fragrance.

Time is of the essence here and the tolling of distant church bells serve as my hourglass. Their heavenly strains echo throughout the sleepy little town at a precise time each day and I am alerted that soon the velvety sky will silently drop its ebony curtain and it’s time for me to hit the curvy trail homeward.

As I leave my secluded domain behind me , rabbits. squirrels and woodchucks playfully dart here and there. Often I hesitate to let a black snake slink across my path. The cool stream at the foot of the mountain invites me to dip my toes into its bubbling waters. As I lower my foot, a fisty minnow takes a nibble and I hastily withdraw.

The thick, hickory smoke belching from the neighborhood chimneys emit a heavy aroma that activates my taste buds, arousing the childish hunger within me. I know its suppertime. I turn and bid farewell to this awesome splendor knowing that this descent is only a brief interlude between now and tomorrow. Another day? Perhaps -- in time?

Wednesday, April 22

Main Street, Hazard

I can recall when I was just a small chunk of a boy, my mother would take me down to Charles Petrey’s store on Main Street in Hazard to supply my needs with Brogan shoes and overalls. I can recall how nice they were to us kids while they were trying to fit us.

C. F. Brock opened the nearest thing that we kids would have called a 5 and 10 cent store. It was located in the Boggs Building on High Street, behind the court house from 1921 until 1931. As I recall it was named the Hazard Variety Store. Well I can remember the days and hours that I wandered through his store, wishing I had some money to buy some of the products he had. It was a great store for us kids. Folks, time rolls on. I realize time changes many of us. I would like to see something come up that could make our younger generation realize that they are also going to change in time. The old master above hasn’t given any of us any special privileges.

Tuesday, April 21

Blood Test

I was in love many years ago when I was a Junior at Hazard High School with a fellow who was already in college. I thought I might just get married. One weekend he and I went over to Dr. Eli Boggs Office and asked for a blood test. He questioned me at length and counseled me that if I was thinking about getting married I should wait, finish school, and go on to college like my family wanted me to. He stalled us a little and asked us to wait a minute as he needed to go into the other room to a patient waiting. He came back and what we didn't know was he didn't have that other patient waiting but he called my Dad who lived a stone's throw from his office and told him what was going on. Before we could blink almost, there stood Dad, and needless to say there was no blood test nor marriage and I guess I owe Dr. Boggs because this fellow who was going to be a minister turned into a womanizer and I would have killed him.

I loved Dr. Boggs. His daddy, Dr. Jimmy Boggs was my family's doctor and then Dr. Eli. My little brother who did not live to be too old was named after Dr. Jimmy. He delivered him right in our home. Dr. Boggs would come to our house, sit on the bed of my old folks, hold their hand, and stay until he felt he could leave them in comfort. I know they paid him but I never saw any money change hands.

State Law

1941 – 79 year old Richmond McIntyre of Fusonia, merchant, had reason to gripe about a new state law which required blood tests before a marriage license would be issued. A busy man, McIntyre wanted to get married “right off the bat” like in the old days. He had too much work to do tending his store, keeping house, milking cows and other chores. When McIntyre and his bride-to-be Martha Brewer went to the Perry County Court House and were told of the new law, McIntyre became indignant: “Why, I’ve been so busy I haven’t had time to make up my bed in a month and I need this woman.”

Monday, April 20


Few days ago who came in to see me – none other than Billy Goat Mitchell without a sign of a shoe or stocking on. It was during this extreme hot and dry weather we have been having. I can’t say I blame him a bit for coming down the street barefooted. It reminded me of the days of my youth when I use to run through the cow pasture that way, use to cut my foot where the cows had been, especially where they bedded down for the night. My old friend, Sis Duff came in the store about this time who I am guessing to be way along in her eighties. She remarked that she had walked all the way from Walker’s Branch into town. She said that she would like to be near home where she could take off her shoes and walk out into the cool waters of the branch that ran in front of her home to cool off her dogs. How well I can recall the days that I visited her home. We had to go in a two horse wagon, went there to get apples in the fall of the year, but we usually ended up with pumpkins, corn of the gritting type, walnuts, potatoes, along with several glasses of either sweet or butter milk. Sis had them all.

Few days ago I talked to Allan Moore, whom I have known for many years. I asked him what run he was on, since he worked for the only railroad that came into our area. He gave me a reply that he had retired from work since 1955. Allan states that since he retired from the railroad his wife retired about this time also. Allan was with the L & N for forty five years.

Another citizen I can well recall is none other than D. K. Ritchie. He was Chief of Police in Hazard when I was growing up. He put the fear of God in we teenagers during his time. D.K. is now 75 but says he can’t hold a light to his brother, Dr. S.M. Ritchie who is somewhere in his eighties. He says that Doc is always gone fishing somewhere. D.K. tells me that he has been going down to his farm in Todd County where he has been getting his share of squirrel this year. D. K. says the only thing wrong with the trip is his family won’t let him drive that far anymore. Ambition at the age of 75 must be a wonderful thing and should be an inspiration to our younger generation if they would only think of it in this manner. If they only realized what they could profit from a few hard knocks of life, then they would.

Sunday, April 19

Idy Limits

We started back from Harlan and started up Pine Mountain, and got about 3/4 of the way to the top (on the Cumberland Side); all at once something or other with one big bright light appeared out of nowhere in the sky above us; it was pitch dark otherwise and my husband was trying to determine what it was and where it had come from; it was directly above us in the sky, sort of hovering; Tom, trying to determine if it was harmless or not, decided and said, "Here is a wide spot and I am going to pull off to try and get a better look at it. When the car stopped we all got out and began looking and pointing at what we were seeing above us; when we did that in the twinkling of an eye it vanished as quickly as it appeared.As it got closer to our car following us up the mountain the light became brighter and prevented us from seeing the shape of what it was. However, we did make out that the light when we first saw it was about the size of a baseball, then it got to the size of a softball, and it kept changing sizes as it got closer. At first we thought it was a bright star, but it didn't take long for us to decide it was not a star. We had heard about UFO's and of course that is what we thought was following us.We watched the news and me working as I was kept an ear for anything that might have been an answer to what we had seen that night. Nothing was ever mentioned about a mysterious light, and so we have always come to a conclusion that it was for our eyes only evidently, and I still would like to know what it had in mind but that is still the mystery. We often thereafter wondered what would have happened if we had not got out of the car and made whatever it was aware that we were watching it as it was watching us. Needless to say, and my husband will tell you, it scared him to death. It didn't do much for me either but the kids were very excited and we had a hard time getting through to him they were not to tell about this incident that night. We still talk about it and wonder, but that mystery is one that cannot be solved I reckon.

Saturday, April 18

Little Buggers

Parents, few days ago I was driving home from the other end of the state, believe me it was one of those hot days. I stopped at a service station that sold other items than gas, such as hot dogs and etc. After getting my car serviced, and a sandwich under by belt, I get in my car, step on the starter but there was just a steady grind, the motor wouldn't start. You know with these new fangled cars that have automatic chokes - cold and hot weather will effect them I am sure. There was a car parked within two feet of me that had about five bright-eyed youngsters ranging from the ages of seven to ten in it, along with their parents I took for granted. After grinding on the starter several times and the motor didn’t start, the little buggers started sticking their heads out the windows, offering such remarks as,“Mr. Why don’t you turn on the key, Mr. Why don’t you put some gas in it, Mr. Why don’t you trade it in." I didn’t mean to give any of the kids a hard look. I wanted to draw the attention of their parents, which I didn’t do because they were too involved in talking about some of their neighbors. I thought about what can we expect from children when their parents are so rapped up in such petty things as to forget their kids. When finally my jalopy started and I drove off, I got to thinking to the neighborhood where I lived. I thought of George Feltner’s kids, Glenn Maggards, Farmer Brashear, the Chelgren kids, the Roll kids, the Benton's, the Edwards, and many more kids that I know. I said to myself, Roscoe, you realize that you are living in a good neighborhood. Folks, my hide wouldn’t have held shucks if I had made any kind of remarks to a stranger, unless it had been for something that would have helped him on his way. Sometimes I wonder what is happening to parents that are raising children. Yes, children that will take the place of their parents that never hears their voices or ever heeds the voices that some day might be destined to guide other generations of kids that are following close behind them. I often wonder if the future means anything to so many people. Just suppose that our forefathers had never looked ahead to the future. What would have happened to so many of us if they had not planned for the future?

Friday, April 17

Cowboy Row

In 1943 Howard Hughes' new movie blockbuster "The Outlaw" came to Hazard. It was well advertised and publicized for months before it arrived. And we were all right down there on "Cowboy Row" with our cap pistols. We had seen all the movie previews, newspaper ads, billboards and now it was finally here. I'll admit it was a pretty racy movie for its time. But for a twelve year old movie fan I thought it was a flop. Jack Beutel was no Clark Gable and Jane Russell was no Vivien Leigh. Beutel as Billy the Kid was unbelievably corny. Jane Russell was O.K. but she had this shrill high pitched voice that caused you to wince every time she spoke. When I left the theater I wondered what all that hype was about. What a loser. I probably would have liked it better if I had not already seen Robin Hood, Stagecoach, Tarzan, Beau Geste, Sherlock Holmes, Drums along the Mohawk and GWTW. My buddies and I were not impressed and we didn't go home and play Cowboys and Indians the rest of that day. Jane Russell went on to be a Hollywood Super Star, but Jack Beutel made one more movie and then disappeared.

Thursday, April 16

Short Shorts

Few days ago I was on my way to the Post Office, passing the Court House Square. As you may know many of our old timers linger around there three to five minutes out of every day. I met a man and a lady. I guessed it to be his wife wearing shorts, as this one old gentleman expressed his thoughts. I will not mention any names. He called them “the shortest britches he had ever seen.” He called to me, “Did you see that?” I assured him I did.

A few days ago a gentleman came into the Davis Brothers Store on Main Street. He started talking about hen pecked husbands, he stated, “You know Roscoe, I guess without a doubt I am the world’s worst.” He also said he would prefer a quick death to a long drawn out one. He stated that he used to want to choke every man to death that made a statement in regard to what his wife had for him to do when he arrived home from work. He turned around and started out the door. I called to him and asked him if it would be alright to use his name in this blog. He immediately replied, “damn you, I have been talking too much.” So maybe this is the way that a lot of you so called Hen Pecked Husbands feel. I am confident he is doing alright as he started out the door he turned and said, “I will choke the living day lights out of you.” Confident he would do that very thing is the reason no names have been mentioned.

Wednesday, April 15

Baseball Excursion

Back in the late 30's and early 40's there were a lot of Cincinnati Reds fans in Hazard. Once every summer the L&N would run a "Baseball Excursion" passenger train all the way to Cincinnati especially for all the fans in our area. I think it originated in Jenkins, stopped in Hazard, and picked up a few more passengers in Jackson, continued to Winchester and on to Grand Central Station in Cincy. That was the very first big railroad terminal I ever saw. I was impressed with the size of the place and how busy it was. It was very close to the old Crosley Field, the home of the Reds. Unloading at Grand Central we went out front and caught a streetcar to the front entrance of the ball park. We got to see all the old Reds like Frank McCormack and Ernie Lombardi and eat a few hot dogs. This was a great time for a 10 year old. After the game we jumped on the streetcar and rode back to the station and boarded the train for the long return trip back. I remember when we stopped in Jackson, going both ways, two ladies would sell us fried chicken box lunches for 50 cents from their their cart. No dinning car on the Hazard train. The four coaches we had were very old but in good shape. There were bathrooms on each coach and a coal burning pot bellied stove on each end. There was plenty of room for everybody and we could lie down and take a little nap when needed. Incidentally, being in a L&N family Granpa would give me a pass every so often. I could ride the regular passenger train any time I wanted. During the war years I even got to ride the big famous L&N passenger train called the "Hummingbird." It began every morning in Chicago and went all the way to New Orleans. I rode the Louisville/ Nashville section and visited my Granpa's brother who lived in downtown Nashville and also worked on the L&N. I learned to love riding the trains and did so at every opportunity while growing up. I was later fortunate enough to ride the old streamliner "City of Memphis" from Memphis to Nashville and years later the" Hiawatha" Superdome from minneapolis to Chicago.During the war, Granpa, Henry Lee McCollum, was the Yard Foreman where all the coal laden cars were hooked up every day going North. Directly across the river from the turntable and repair shop, just East of the Yards, he built a house up on top of the hill. Any time during the day Grandma could sit on the front porch in her rocking chair and watch Henry Lee working across the river. Every day he crossed the big swinging bridge coming and going to work. It was a great life back then. The city limits sign read Hazard, population 8,900...

Tuesday, April 14

Anything But The Truth

Each day you can notice the works of Mother Nature gradually putting on her new dress of bright green, with a few early flowers poking their heads up here and there. The old timers always say that when Easter is over you can look for pretty weather from there on. I hardly agree with them this time as it has gotten pretty snappy in the few days since Easter ... never the less, it won’t be long.

There’s an old saying - you can always hear anything but the truth and meat a frying around a barber shop; I'm beginning to think that’s so. The other morning I heard some talk that went like this: Johnny Melton said he noticed tomatoes blooming, Dewey Daniel remarked he had seen a snake crawl across the road, and Ed Combs said he saw cherries and apples turning. Everybody in the shop had their eyes focused on their conversation. Knowing these fellows like I do I can understand them because they are lovers of the outdoors. They are just rushing the season along a little. No harm done in that. Many of us get “teched” in the head at this time of year.

These boys with the cedar sticks you notice sitting around the court house square, bickering for a shady spot to discuss the laws of our land, the happenings of years ago, forcasting the elections, giving Russia pure hell and damnation, and yes, also discussing the Bible. Don't be misled about what these old timers know about the Bible. You can quick get an argument started on this lately. I always walk by this crowd on my way to the Post Office. Have noticed one of them comes by and sharpens his knife about every morning except Wednesdays. I asked him about missing this one day. Have learned that this is wash day. It seems that even at his age he is still under petticoat government, no names mentioned.

Monday, April 13

Last Frontier

Hazard, Kentucky had to be the "last frontier" for the old "Ford Model A" automobile. After they disappeared every where else, Model A's were still abundant in Hazard. There were many in the City and even more in the surrounding towns and coal camps. My dad was the proud owner of a Model A Coupe with the "rumble seat" in the back, where the trunk would normally be. I can still hear that familiar cackling sound of the four cylinder engine running down Route 15. Dad serviced all the big refrigeration units in all the big coal camp commissaries in the area. He also made house calls to repair refrigerators. Thats how He Got a "C" gas sticker on his windshield during WWII. He always had plenty of gasoline to motor around. Sometimes on Saturday I would travel with him to all those great places. I remember Blue Diamond, Hardburly, Carr Creek, Viper, Vicco, Dwarf, Rowdy, Fisty, Bulan, Diablock, Chavies and more. We even went as far as Jackson several times. My favorite trip was a weekend visit to Lexington. With Mom along I got to ride in the rumble seat. Lexington was the bigtime to me. The basketball capital of the world. Dad would give me a couple of dollars and let me go out on my own. I got to know downtown Lexington very well. On the way back we would take the back road to Jackson and visit my uncle's farm in Oatdale. After the old dirt road ended we continued through the fields and across the creeks to get there. That's one of the reasons the model A was so popular in Eastern Kentucky. It would go anywhere. On visits to Hazard, in the 50's, I would still see an occasional Model A. Probably all gone by now, except in the Henry Ford Museum in Dearborn. That car played a very important part in our American History. Remember Fords come from Detroit, imports come from Hell.

Saturday, April 11

Nightmare of Uncertainty

Part 6... Supper was cooked over an open fire. But who could eat with our possessions, our homes, and our lives in ruins? Soon after supper, or perhaps it was just before, I don't recall exactly, I was walking through the dining room and the entire house lit up - the sky became far brighter than day. It was like the blinding white flash before an explosion. Someone screamed, "Lie down on the floor!, and we all did - all except the men who rushed out to see what it was. The Power Company transformers had shorted out as the water reached them. Twice the flash lit up the sky, and twice people thought "the oil drums and Johnstown!"

At seven-thirty I was sitting before the fire when they brought the news. "The River Has Crested!" But even with those words it was hard to feel joy or even relief - the damage was already done. The rest of the time until morning was a nightmare of uncertainty. When the sky finally became light and I had eaten one orange for breakfast I left, unnoticed, to see if our house was still there. Mother had forbidden me to go. Still I trudged down the long hill. Upon reaching the street where the flood had been, I found mud nearly up to my ankles. It smelled acid and as I made my way wearily toward home, my shoes made ugly sucking noises. With dread in my heart unequaled by any I had known, I crossed our mud-carpeted lawn and ascended the steps. I hesitated, then shoved the door open. For a second I stood horrified in disbelief, then I leaned heavily against the door frame, physically sick. The lovely gold upholstered chairs were piled in the middle of the floor. The fabulous library strewn helter-skelter in the rancid, odorous filth, the drapes torn and ruined, and the lamps smashed. I wiped the tears from my eyes as I heard Daddy behind me. He was too hurt already. Tears would make it worse.

Kathryn Maggard lived in Woodland Park in Hazard. Her father – Clarence Maggard was a coal operator, her mother was Mary Ward Gabbard Maggard and her brother – Elmer Maggard became a well known doctor. Kathy left Hazard many years ago and married Ike Vanderpool, one of the survivors of the nation’s worst school bus accident that happened in 1958 in Prestonsburg. They lived in Andersonville, Tennessee where they owned a marina and boat dock. Kathy wrote her amazing story when she was around 14 years old and a student at Hazard High School. She truly was an old soul. Sadly - Kathryn died in 2002 at the age of 59. We encourage everyone to share their thoughts on Kathy’s story by clicking on the “comments” link. Wanderer

Friday, April 10

18 People Pretending They Weren't Crowded

Part 5... The downstairs of our refuge was rapidly filling with water, and the upstairs grew icy cold. We didn't know how long it would be before the river would crest, and we called to the men who were evacuating the house next door. They answered that the water was still rising, so once again we got ready to move. With my pillowcase full of food, I was carried out by two men waist deep in the icy water through the kitchen. I waited for Mama on the hill behind the house. The slope we had to climb was no gentle one. I would not have attempted it at any other time. Now it looked almost straight up. Nevertheless, we struck out, slipping, sliding, grasping at air, until we finally reached the last step. Someone held out a hand to help me, and I took it gratefully. Upon reaching the top I found one of the boys grinning at me. He had crossed the bridge and come back. I looked down its general direction. The water must have been lapping over the concrete when he crossed! I looked at him and thought hazily that that thick coat must certainly be warm. We reached our final stop, a home far above the water level and deposited our burdens. There were eighteen people attempting to pretend that they weren't crowded in that one house. At this time Woodland Park was a horseshoe surrounded on three sides by the gigantic river, now three or four times its normal size. Up the river was a supply house of the Mines Service Company near which stood two huge Standard Oil drums. Mine Service was on fire and had been burning since early that afternoon, that is, the part above the water. In everyone's mind there was a gnawing fear, and the memory of a place called Johnstown.

Thursday, April 9

All Feeling Seemed To Be Drained From Our Bodies

Part 4... It was still raining when we emerged from the river which was now racing down the main street of Woodland Park. Far out in the center of the river bed the current had reached unbelievable momentum. The boys saw me safely to a friend's home, and then returned to help my family. Mother would have to leave now, she had no choice. I obtained some fresh clothes and set out with Ann to help my family once more. As I scrambled through a hedge, I slipped and fell flat in the slimy mud. At any other time I would have been quite put out, but - mud - I hardly noticed it. I picked myself up and we trudged on to the house where Mother and Daddy were. I knew my brother and sister were safe, but my parents had me worried. When I found them I decided to stay and once again changed clothes. Actually, it didn't do much good since in evacuating my parents, the suit case with our only dry clothes has been dropped, thoroughly soaking them. Surely, we thought as we each shot quick glances out of the windows of our new quarters, the river will crest now - before it comes in here! But it did not, the relentless flood waters continued to creep up inch by inch - foot by foot. The basement of this house was nearly full when the owner suddenly realized that she had failed to throw the master switch. All that water just might be full of electricity. My father, the only man in the house, changed back into his wet clothes and stepped manfully into the basement. He later told us that the only way he had found whether the water was charged was by stepping into it. Once the switch was thrown we began moving furniture to the second floor of our refuge. Our neighbor took her four tow-headed little girls out of the house before they could be trapped. And we worked like beavers to get her beautiful antiques up to safer ground. The light green carpeting which covered the floors ripped and bulged as the water pushed its greedy way into the house. In the garage we watched with frozen emotion their new Buick sedan fill and ruin with flood water. By the time we had moved all the food and drinking water to the upstairs bathroom, we were in such a state of shock that all feeling seemed to be drained from our bodies and our emotions were dead. Lying across the foot of a canopy bed in an upstairs bedroom, I watched fixedly as the river rose nearly to the eaves of our lovely little home across the road. My parents' faces were devoid, too, of emotion. What could you feel besides hopelessness when you saw your home and life fill and ruin with destruction?

Wednesday, April 8

The Most Deadening Experience Of My Life

Part 3 ... The cars from the used car lots suddenly appeared, parked on the dirt road on the mountain directly across the street from us. Soon the hill was full. Daddy looked out the window and tossed the car keys to the boys. I went to my room with our maid and began to put my belongings up high. We threw all my shoes into a suit case and put them in the tiny attic space which was reached by pull-down stairs. What came next I don't know. I only remember piling things on my huge bed - drawers, records, jewelry, and everything I could get my hands on. We threw my clothes onto the high shelf in my closet and carried my books to the attic. In the whirling, ghastly kaleidoscope I remember seeing my small blond sister crying in choking sobs as she tenderly placed her china dolls and figurines on her bed, saying in a tearful whisper, "Mama, will they be all right?" I remember kneeling beside her and wondering the same thing. I remember seeing Mama feverishly piling her precious books on the highest shelves. I helped too. In the utter confusion we slammed useless things into safe locations, leaving valuable objects unprotected. I saw with relief that the boys had carried the new Hi-Fi upstairs. Running into my room I looked out the window. The yard was level with water! My stomach felt funny as I searched in disbelief for any sign of the swimming pool. We would have to evacuate soon, that was painfully evident. When the time came, Mother refused to go, saying that she would stay in the attic. I followed her example, but my refusal was useless. Stepping onto the porch and seeing the engulfing yellow, brown, and black water was the most deadening experience in my life. Gripping each other for support, one of the boys and I descended resolutely into the water. Never has anything been so cold and never will it be again! It cut like a knife up to our knees. Our teeth chattered and the current fought against us. Far up ahead we could see one of our neighbors with my sister on his back as he successfully crossed to the other side. Ahead of him bounded my other classmate, heedless of his footing, and waving my sister's suitcase madly above his head. By going diagonally against the current we had nearly made it across when the other boy plunged back to assist us.

Tuesday, April 7

Threatening and Thrilling

Part 2 ... We drove to town where Ann and I left my father and went to get a coke while he bought the pump. After getting our drinks, we ran down to the bridge leading to the railroad station to see the river. The brown torrent lashed furiously around the pillars of the bridge. It was threatening and horrible, but then, to us, thrilling. When Daddy picked us up, he had recruited one of the boys in my class to help at our home - if help was needed. The grade schools were dispersing by this time, so we collected my little brother and sister, along with half a dozen young neighbors, and endeavored to return home. The river had risen high enough to block the streets at the main intersection of town, and there was only one way left open. This route involved going up by the high school again. Water of this height was not uncommon to Hazard and none of us expected anything far out of the ordinary. As we came into the school vicinity, we also ran directly into a thick traffic jam. Inch by inch we made our way through the maze of honking horns and wet automobiles. Miraculously we immerged on the other side of the water and sped toward home.

It was approximately nine-thirty when we arrived at our house in the residential section across the river from the business district. As we entered the house, Mother met us with the report the river was rising several feet an hour. Fantastic rumors were spreading like wildfire. The debris that hurtled down the river had suddenly graduated from paint buckets, logs and brush to sheds, fences, and occasionally a chicken atop some boards. By the time I had changed into slacks, the cut-offs into our house had failed to work, and water had slowly begun to seep through the basement drain. The pump was put to work. We next focused our attention on the shed that hangs over the riverbank behind our home. If the river got high enough to get in it, we felt sure that it would go. We took the spare doors and the bicycles, the garden tools, and lawn mower into the garage and wedged them in with a board to keep them from floating away - if the river got that high. Another boy in my class had joined our slaving little band. There were neighbors from higher ground helping as the river continued to rise. Now we moved into the house. It seemed ridiculous to be moving books from lower shelves to the top. The water had never gotten in our house before. We were above the 1927 flood level and even the oldest citizens didn't remember a flood beyond that. But with the radio reports getting worse, this didn't seem so absurd. It wasn't long before WKIC, which was on low ground, went out. Then we were without any form of communication other than the telephone.

Monday, April 6

Just Another Dreary Day?

Part 1 ... It had been raining for three or four days, and on the morning of January 29, 1957, the downpour had subsided to a dreary drizzle. The sky showed no sign of clearing. The early morning mist was even greyer and thicker than usual. The river had risen to a high tide. There was no immediate indication of a crest, and WKIC reported a rapid rise several miles above us. I am forced to admit that we were excited - and even happy. At this rate school would have to be let out, and the prospect of an entire day at home with a blazing fire delighted us. I caught my ride, which was, for once, early. One of the girls was driving her car to school, assuring us of a ride home in view of the certain dismissal. As we passed one of the street drains the water gushed up through it, brown and gurgling. The river was the one and only topic of conversation at Hazard High. The faces of students living above and below Hazard and in Woodland Park, our home, already showed marked anxiety. To our utter indignation, the bell for classes rang. Stunned and not a little incredulous we filed into English class. Not ten minutes of the period went by before our principal tapped on the microphone of the P.A. system. Instantly we snapped to attention. "Will all of you students from Lothair and Walkertown please board the busses immediately --" he was cut short by a round of enthusiastic hurrahs. Town students were, however, not dismissed. Restless and very nervous, we waited. Five minutes later a familiar voice cracked through the little brown speaker. "Put your coats on, and don't catch cold, and go home!" Laughing and giddy with excitement, one of my neighbors and I burst out the door of the school, dashing to catch our ride. But just as we reached the car, I saw another familiar vehicle coming up the hill. We turned and raced to meet my father. He had been on his way to get a pump for the basement and, after seeing the stream of high school students pour off the hill, had decided to come after me.

Friday, April 3

I never heard of a swimming pool until I was past forty years old. We always took our bath and swimming in stride at the same time. Of course that was in the good ole summer time. In the wintertime we got into a number three wash tub by a big-bellied stove then had to turn around to keep warm, plus, your mother pouring hot water out of a tea kettle. Gosh, we have come a long way in many things. But in many ways we are still just about where we started. We got a few things such as running water, flip on lights, television, radio, automatic washing machines, and automobiles with automatic gears.

Swapping and trading has become a trademark in a lot of towns and county seats throughout Kentucky. I see no reason why we can’t set aside an old fashioned trade and barter day right here in Hazard where you trade and swap everything from a pocket knife, coon hound, and on down the line maybe your wife. A few days ago I stopped in Stanton. There were several people sitting around Dalton’s bus stop, an eating-place where most of you that travel that way stop. It wasn’t long before I got in the middle of a bunch of their citizens wanting to swap pocket knifes. I didn’t have anything worthwhile to trade. Before I left they extended an invitation for me to get a group of our best knife swappers and come down.

Thursday, April 2

Pepsi Cola & Moon Pies

Growing up in Hazard during the 30s & 40s were good times. Always something to do. Riding bicycles in the good weather, snow sledding in the Winter snows. Most of us kids wore those old rubber galoshes and they kept your feet warm and dry in the snow. Sledding down Lyttle Boulevard was a good ride if you could make the turn at the bottom of the hill and glide across the bridge. I wish I had all the nickels I spent at that little grocery store on the corner on Pepsi Cola, Moon Pies, frozen Milky Ways, Dentyne gum, and Dixie Cups.

I lived on Laurel Street for a while. Tommy Turk lived on the corner. On down on the right were Bill Zoellers and his sister Martha. Next to them, my great Aunt Zonie Whitley and her boy, Charles Jr. I lived in the next house and on down the line were Jack & Jaqueline Bevans, followed by Charles Davis and his little brother Bobby. Turning the corner and up the hill was Sherman & Bud Robbins, Paul & Burley Horn and the Steele brothers. At the end of the street were Lois Fay Lusk, who was in my class, and her older brother, Howard. I got into building model airplanes with the help of Howard Lusk. Lois later became a cheer leader at HHS. I best remember her carrying all those school books back and forth every day. I guessed she was big on "home work." I wasn't...Believe it or not, we had three sets of twins in our class that graduated in 1949. Margaret & Joe Pat Gorman, John & George Green and Ben & Bill Roll. The Roll twins and I were in the famous Boy Scout Troop 100 with our headquarters in the basement of the Baptist Church. We had some great times in Summer Camp at Camp Stinnett, near Hyden on the river and Camp Arrowhead near Pikeville. But my biggest pleasure was playing Sunday School League basketball in the HHS gym on the same court where all my heroes played: Garland Townes, Jack Steele, Sammy Burke, Bill Zoellers, Howard Lusk, Kern Price, Bobby McGuire and others. During a visit to Hazard in the 50s I played in a practice game with Burke and Sonny Gum, the latest newcomer. On the way back to Dayton I stopped in Lexington at the old Sigma Chi House on Limestone and talked to Don Grey and bill Marcum. I wonder where they are, today...

Wednesday, April 1

New Calendar Leaf

I am sure you were glad to turn over a new calendar leaf this month with the coming of April. You can see a few signs of spring already cropping up. Several mornings ago, when it was still very cold, I heard my wife excitedly calling me. I ran into a back room; she pointed out a large red bird fluttering against the window and pecking the glass. We watched him for sometime. I remembered some seed I had for this very purpose. I placed some on the windowsill and he immediately went to work on it. I noticed he had his mate along with him but she wasn’t as brave as he. She would take her seeds off the ground where we had placed them. He is back regular every morning. If we don’t come at once he really flutters against the window hard. I would say he is a smart bird at that. I feel that it is a sure sign that spring is here.

Now that was good stuff ...

I remember the old Bakery in Big-bottom. My buddy and I usually paid it a visit on Saturday morning. We loved those big glazed donuts for a nickle a piece. Some times, if we timed it just right, the baker would sell us a 10 cent fresh loaf of bread right out of the oven. We would tear the end off the loaf and reach down in there and get a handful of hot bread. Now that was good stuff.From there we walked on up to the Dr. Pepper plant. My friend's Dad was the manager. He would give us each a free bottle of Dr. Pepper. It wasn't cold but it was still good. After that we would probably end up at the lower Broadway school playground and play marbles or stick ball the rest of the day.