Thursday, July 8

Safe Keeping

It was a little before Court time in Hazard. Perry County Attorney Tolbert Combs always came by Grace Strong's office where I worked. They were cousins. I was sitting there doing something or other and he came over to me and said, "Idy, I need to leave something with you to take care of until Court lets out for lunch." I told him I would be glad to. Tolbert asked me what I was eating. "Candy," I answered. He started to say he would take a bite and then he stopped himself, "Naw, I'd better not since I would have to gum it as you have just taken my teeth." I had no idea what he had in the napkin that I had just placed it in the drawer for safe keeping. I offered them back to him and he laughed, "Just keep them for me cause if I get started on a big examination up there and go to the desk to sit down I will sit on my teeth and break them all to h---. I always take my teeth out when I get tied up in a heated argument in case they decide to flop out," he said. He then turned and went upstairs to begin a new Court day.

Wednesday, July 7

Evening Breeze & Heavenly Aroma

Well, here it is July 4th, 1942, and things are a-buzzing at 109 Liberty Street. Dad is churning the homemade ice cream, Uncle Matt is cutting the watermelon and Mom and Auntie are busy in the hot kitchen preparing all the good things we are about to receive. My, my, my, what a smell coming out the opened windows and doors, makes a little feller’s stomach growl with anticipation.

Looking up the “holler” I can see faces of people that have left to go to work in Ohio, Michigan and Indiana back home to celebrate. A lot of happy folks and their voices blend as they talk, sing, and whistle while waiting to sit down together to eat once again with family and friends.

I am about 9 and it is hot, hot, hot, and Mom lets me go out in the yard in my “drawer tail” while Uncle comes around the corner of the porch and souses me good with the water hose. “That’ll cool you down, Idy…does it now?” I yell back up at him not to stop but keep the water coming. All the kids watching in awe and up the holler they all go to make sure they end up under the family’s water hose, which they usually do.

My cousin Julian has come with his family from Louisville, Kentucky which they do each year to celebrate with us. He wanted to get into some meanness I suppose and my Mom was mad at our old cat which we named “Hitler” because he had a mustache and honestly reminded one of Hitler. Well, I watched from afar and did not know what they would end up doing so I kept my distance and all of a sudden my old cat started meowing to its highest as Julian and Mom tied several fire crackers to old Hitler’s tale and tossed him over our little porch. The fire crackers cracked, the cat meowed, Granny about fainted, and over in a corner sat Mom and Julian giggling cause they were afraid to laugh out loud. Our old cat was not hurt, but his nerves was shattered I am sure.

After filling my tummy full of good food and listening to Dad play the saw, Auntie playing her harmonica and songs going out on the evening breeze, and the heavenly aroma of Ralph’s freshly baked bread filling the air, I crawled up in Uncle’s lap there in the old porch swing and went to dreamland.

Friday, June 4

Little Girl With The Braided Hair

We have watched with keen interest the awakening of love in two young hearts in Hazard. The girl is a pretty lass who still wears her hair in a braid and the boy a sturdy lad. We have known both since they were babies. We have watched them on their way to school. They are fine, healthy youngsters, at that merry period of life which is like the radiant dawn of an April morning. But just at present the clouds obscure the blue sky of their youthful dream. They are mad at each other.

Were you ever mad at the little lass who wore her hair in a braid and tossed her pretty head in disdain when she met you on her way to school? Then you can feel the sinking of the heart which makes the lad of whom we write so miserable.

It all came about in a most natural way. A strange girl came to Hazard for a little visit. The boy met her and found she was nice. Not nearly so nice as the little blue-eyed lass with her hair in a braid. But she was nice and he walked with her upon the village street. The little girl with the braided hair met them and the mischief was done. That is all. The girl is proud and unhappy because she is mad at the boy. The lad is sorry and wretched because the girl won't speak to him now. The little stranger has gone home and is busy with her own little heart flutters.

We hope the storm may be but an April shower and the sun of gladness may shine for the youngsters again. 1921

Thursday, June 3

Hazard Legend

Two were listed as missing following the sinking of a wagon and team on Main Street in Hazard, opposite the Court House Sunday afternoon. The so-called street probably will be dynamited in an attempt to recover the missing men and the wagon and team. The empty wagon driven by a Perry County citizen, who was accompanied by a friend, was making one knot an hour through four feet of mud, when the disaster occurred. A bottomless hole was struck, and the horses, wagon and human freight were lost from view. It is said that the spot will be paved and further disasters of the sort made impossible within the next twenty years. 1921

Wednesday, June 2

Speaking on how little you get to eat for the big price you pay, a certain restaurant in Hazard reminds me of the following hog story. A farmer raised a hog that grew to such a size that the people came from far and near to see the animal. The farmer conceived the idea of charging for seeing this attraction, and when a traveler one day drove up, the farmer said, "Come to look at the big hawg, did ye?" "You guessed it," replied the traveler. "Well," said the rustic, "it'll cost ye six bits." The stranger gazed at him for a moment then dug down into his pocket, paid the 75 cents, and started back to his buggy. "Hold on" cried the farmer, "ye hain't seen the hawg." "That's all right," replied the traveler, "I came to see the biggest hog in the country and I've seen you."

Talk about get rich-quick schemes, you cant beat these prices at a Hazard restaurant: Porterhouse steak with potatoes - $1.50, T-bone steak with potatoes: $1.25, Sirloin steak with potatoes: 85 cents, Veal chops, veal cutlets, pork cutlets, lamb fries, pork tenderloin, sausage with tomato sauce, cream gravy or breaded: 75 cents each. French fried potatoes: 20 cents, and coffee: 10 cents. This is what the boys are up against at Hazard, Ky. Lexington Herald 1921

Tuesday, June 1

It goes without saying that the skirts the Hazard girls are wearing are awfully short this year, but they raise them when they cross the street just the same. 1921

Monday, May 31

Sweet Be The Dew Of Their Memory

I was born in Perry County some little time ago. I decided to be born at Hazard, and have been tickled pink about it ever since. When I was about a year old, dad moved to Carr's Fork, and I decided to run along with the rest of the family. You will see, then, that I had to leave unconditionally. Since those days of my early kidhood, Hazard has been transformed, as if by some magic wand. I believe I have been there only once since. Back in the old days (my mother tells me) people used to pitch horse-shoes on the streets of Hazard, play mumbly-peg, and shoot marbles. Occasionally there was a shin-dig and folks picked the banjo, fiddled and whistled. In those highlands I have heard the best whistlers that ever puckered, curled or twisted a lip. For sixteen years I have been in the mountains but little; but, for those early days up there sweet be the dew of their memory, and pleasant the balm of their recollection. Yes I have been homesick ever since I commenced rambling as our good old ballets call it. If I ever get out of this cock pit of Europe, this land of Slavs and Bolsheviki, I'm coming right back to Kentucky and I'm going to squat there for awhile. 1921

Monday, May 17

Close Harmony

The prisoners couldn't have sung much louder, and when they bust into full-voiced song the second night in a row in Hazard, Jailer Grant Campbell went up to the second floor to hear better and maybe to help. What he saw didn't do much toward harmonizing relations between jailer and jailee. Tow of the 16 prisoners were taking turns keeping time with a hacksaw, and not on the bars of the song either. 1941

What else happened in 1941? Actor - Ray Crash Corrigan appeared at the Past Time Theater in Vicco, a President's Ball for the March of Dimes was held at the Hazard Country Club, Bruce White started selling Fords at his East Main Dealership, and former WKIC / WSGS announcer Wayne Combs was born.

Friday, May 14

Spit Or Not To Spit

As a youngan, I grew up and spent a lot of time around “old folks” (funny I am one now). I loved to listen to the many stories they would tell, watch Uncle Matt blow smoke rings from his pipe, Granny puffing on her old cob pipe, and Auntie and Mom rolling their own filling each with Buffalo they took from the bag they placed out of sight on their person. Something that I watched them do time and time ago was “spit” and “spit” they did. It intrigued me to no end how they could aim and it go over the porch railing without a drop hitting the porch. Well, one day I decided I wanted to “spit” or try my hand at it. I had me a bag of licorice and I would chew it up purty good and then I would “rare” back and “spit”. I reckon I got purty good at it and spent more nickles on licorice than anything else during that time. One day I walked up to a bunch of boys playing marbles and chided them into a “spitting contest”. One asked, “we don’t chaw, what are we going to spit?” I got out my little bag of licorice and handed it out and then we all lined up to see who could spit the furthest. I drew a line in the dirt and we took our turns at spitting. Well, don’t you know it, one of the fellers had sneaked around and was dipping snuff and he knew how to spit with the best of them. Needless to say I lost in that contest, plus I give away all of my licorice. I never asked for another spitting contest and it wasn’t long after that that I left behind my tomboy days and started “duding” up as a girl…mercy, those were the days!!!

Thursday, May 13

Let Me See Your Lag

Well, this “tomboy” loved to play boy games with the best of them and It was a hot summer day about 1945 and me and my friend, Kathleen, headed to Collins Market to get us a Pepsi and a pack of peanuts, yummy. One of my favorite people and memories of those days was one of their clerks by the name of Ernest (I called him Preacher), and we got what we wanted and ambled up to the counter to pay for our goodies and I needed a new bag of marbles as I was going to take on some of the fellers who thought they couldn’t be beat. I was new to the game other than watching a time or two, so I laid my bag of marbles on the counter and Ernest smiling said to me, “Idy, let me see you lag” (mind you he did not say leg but I thought he did), and I looked at him and said, “Preacher, you or nobody else is going to see my leg” . Bless his heart he turned as red as a beet and I reckon I had embarrassed him so badly. Mr. Collins and his wife let out a hoot and a holler kidding him and he turned coat and went toward the back. When Mr. Collins told me that he meant “lag” which he explained to me was part of the marble lingo, I looked for him to apologize but he was long gone. I don’t think I ever got to apologize but down through the years he remained a good friend of mine and to this day when I see a marble (and I have a huge collection of those jewels), I think of Preacher.

Wednesday, May 12

Ideal Furniture Company

In Hazard there is a store that offers the citizens of the town and all throughout this section one of the most varied and dependable stocks to be found anywhere. We're referring to the Ideal Furniture Company of which W. E. Mattingly is secretary - treasurer and manager. The motto, "More goods for the same money, and the same goods for less money" would seem to be especially appropriate here, while the stock is so replete that any one's wish can be gratified in price, design and style. There is not a larger, nor more artistic line of furniture carried in stock by any dealer in southeastern Kentucky than this firm is featuring at this time. It is through such an assortment that you will be able to put your best foot foremost, express the personality of your home, and welcome your friends.

The facilities employed by the Ideal Furniture Company in furnishing and beautifying the home, and the kind, considerate methods accorded patrons should be appreciated by the citizens of Hazard and Perry County. Even the earliest customers continue their patronage and recommend the Ideal Furniture to their friends. It has always been a favorite place for newlyweds to feather their nests.

Other lines handled are beds, springs, mattresses, bed outfits of all kinds, window shades, carpets, rugs, druggets, floor lamps, etc; also the Wernicke-Globe sectional book cases. This is also the home to the Hoosier kitchen cabinet, the greatest cabinet in the world. Not only does it save the housewife thousands of steps in the course of a day, but it is the national food conserver. The Hoosier will pay for itself in a few month's time in the conservation of food products alone. Other distinctive and high-class lines at Ideal Furniture are the Columbia Grafonola and records, the Edison Diamond Disc Phonograph, sheet music, and H & W Paint and varnish, musical instruments of all kinds including the banjo, guitar, ukulele, violin, etc. 1920

Tuesday, May 11

Snuff Said

Years ago when our salesmen use to travel by buggy, it was not usual for three or four to travel the country side together. On one occasion, three salesmen were on horseback in eastern Kentucky on a very hot day. They stopped by a home that had a nice looking spring. The lady of the house was a very profuse user of snuff and it seems that all these gentlemen noticed that it was running out of the corners of her mouth. They also noticed that a gourd hung over the spring. Since all were thirsty, they started debating on who would drink first. One of the salesman was so thirsty it didn't make any difference to him so he grabbed the gourd and took a drink. The second salesman followed and it came down to the last one. He looked at the gourd dipper, then over at the old lady with the snuff running down her face. He noticed that the handle end of the gourd was open. He immediately scooped himself up a gourd full of water, turned the handle end to his mouth and took a long refreshing drink of that cool, cool water. He noticed after he had finished that the old lady was giggling. He looked at her and said, "Lady what is so funny?" She replied, "Mr. you are the only person I ever saw drink water from that gourd the same way as I do." 1958

Monday, May 10

Dose of Castor Oil

I reckon a lot of our ancestors come down with "rheu-ma-tiz" at early ages to get a dose or two of that "medicinal wonder". I came into real contact with that wonderful potion when I had a toothache that did not seem to go away and the oil of cloves they had on hand didn't seem to help at all. It was at night and I could not get a dentist to help, so Uncle Matt came sneaking around with a little glass and a spoon in his hand. I can see it all now as if it were yesterday, "Here, Idy, take this, hold it in your mouth, swish it around a bit, and then spit it in this cup and I will throw it away...we have to be careful not to let Laura, Ruby or your Granny see what we are doing, they'd have my head..." I did what he told me and it burnt my mouth up and the pain left, why? I suppose the burning sensation overwhelmed the pain I was having, huh? Anyhow, I laid down that night and forgot my aching tooth. :)

While I am on this subject, Uncle Matt came to my rescue once again. It was summer and the heat was terrible. I suppose I might have eaten too many little green apples or something but got a miserable tummy ache. I cried or more like I "bellowed" and that was when Daddy invented the forerunner of an air conditioner by meeting the ice man, getting a slab of ice, putting it in a dishpan, and placed our little fan behind it. Man, did that ever help me with the heat. Now, back to Uncle Matt. Aunt Laura brought in a bottle of cure all which was "castor oil", and she said "Matt, I have to help Ruby wring clothes so you give Idy a tablespoon of this and don't let me hear you say NO." I started yelling to the top of my voice, "don't Uncle Matt, I will vomit if you make me take it" and I kept on pleading my case and I guess poor old fellow he got tired of hearing me screaming and he said, "Idy, here is what we are going to do...I need this for I am having a little trouble and I will take this dose but you are not to tell Auntie or Ruby that you did not take it..." and he gave me a big hug. I watched him down that spoon of castor oil followed by a little glass of orange juice and it almost make me sick just watching him, but it didn't seem to bother him that much. Later that night, pretty much near dawn, I heard Auntie say, "Matt, I can't understand why you are spending all your sleep time sitting on that commode...have you eaten something to upset you terribly, I wonder what it could have been..." I lay and listened and I knew what was going on but was sworn to secrecy and to the day I married and left home, that was never told on my blessed Uncle Matt. Also, I vowed then and there if I ever had children they would never have a dose of castor oil...did I follow that vow...I pretty much think so.

Friday, May 7

Twenty Five Cents Worth

In the early days of logging in our area, one gentleman from this neck of the woods cut his first logs, made his first raft, and proudly sailed it into Beattyville, which was the nearest point for a market at that time. After selling his logs, which maybe brought him $100, he felt very rich with that much money in his pockets, I would be afraid to guess what that raft would have brought today. The gentleman decided to see the city of Beatyville. Not knowing his way around, he hired himself a small boy about twelve years old to show him the sights. At that time of course Beattyville was some what of an extraordinary place, compared to the section this old gentleman came from. The kid, being educated in the ways of the city life, immediately guided his new found friend into a grocery or combination store of all types of merchandise. First thing that caught the eye of the gentleman was a stalk of bananas. He inquired about them, then said. "Give me twenty five cents worth." The kid spoke up and said, "You don't need that many, you will get ten or twelve." Nevertheless, the old gentleman stuck with his original order. They strolled over to the city square which was the court house where the kid showed him how to peel the bananas. The gentleman said "Son, you can have the core", then the man proceeded to eat all the peelings. I understand that kid watched for years to see if another raft ever drifted into Beattyville such as this one.

Thursday, May 6

This Little Town, Twice Washed Away

In the heart of the coal fields, on the river in Eastern Kentucky, Some folks say, "I wouldn't live there," but I consider myself very lucky.

Our little towns' dependence is entirely on the production of coal. But with the completion of the Buckhorn Dam, it will mean factories and flood control.

We've had floods, we've had freezes, we've had heartaches galore. But now near the tail end of Squabble Creek, the Buckhorn Dam will have it's shore.

So with patience and with waiting, we've got what we looked forward too. We old timers are better satisfied, that our visitors won't feel so blue.

This little town, we love so well, has twice been washed away. But the iron-nerved people of Perry County, will tell you, that they're here to stay. 1958

Wednesday, May 5

Mrs. Clarence Nunn and her husband run a little pressing shop down Taxi Alley, being right handy for me. She does all sewing, mending, and patching my clothes. In the older days they use to have what we called Bachelor Buttons. Today it is zip this and zip that. On a few occasions I have had my troubles with this zip zip business.

With Spring in the air, I am sure that you have noticed the song birds about the place, such as Robins, Wrens and other types of song birds that have been missed for so many cold winter months. Now that they have come back to raise their young, I would urge you to help them in every way possible. 1958

Tuesday, May 4

Where Are You From?

Joe Duncan tells the story which Dick Goodlette used to tell on himself. Seems Dick, back during WW 11, was stationed with a couple of city slickers and as Army men will do, they got to talking one night about where each was hailed from. Came Dick's turn and he said, "I'm from Hazard." A not-too-informed Yankee burst out: "Hazard! Where in the heck is that?" Came Dick's retort; "Why son, everyone knows that's only eight miles from Viper."

Monday, May 3

Another Tragedy

This time last year we were all trying to dig out of the devastation of floods. Today, it is something different, trying to dig a bus load of school children that drowned in the river near Prestonsburg. Yes folks, kids that will never be able to enjoy the river that they had been used to. It is coming the time of year that many of them would have been on the river bank with their poles, yes the days they were not in school, which was a favorite past time for all the kids that live up and down our streams. Indeed it is a sad incident, so bad that it has been broadcast around the nation.

Kids that had a future of many things in life that was in store for them. These kids are no different from any other kids through out our great U.S., going to school on a school bus, trying to get the education that they wanted to gain so much. Then suddenly it was all wiped out.

This has been a sad accident. Many of these kids would have been leaders of their various communities. I am sure they would have. To all you people that have lost loved ones in this tragedy, may the good man above bless you and your troubled minds at such an occasion. I am confident that he knows best. 1958

Friday, April 30

Cows & Hogs & Dogs! Oh My!

With the coming Spring, building in Hazard has started with a boom, and Main Street bids fair to be almost a solid business block. Outside capital is becoming interested, and the eyes of Kentucky are on Hazard, the heart of the coal field. The census will probably show that Hazard, Lothair and Lennut combined are about 7,500 people - enough to make a live, hustling modern city.

However, today Hazard's streets and alleys are filled with old paper and rubbish and a city with cows and hogs roaming the streets and with the dogs so numerous that one can hardly walk without walking over one. There is enough old paper on the streets and alleys to print the Sunday edition of the New York World. And there are also enough tin cans along the river bank to put tin roofs on half the houses in Hazard. Spring is here and nature is trying to purify the air with good clean sunlight. 1920

Thursday, April 29

Five-Cent Novels & Moving Pictures

Almost any night at a late hour, small children can be seen alone on the streets of Hazard. Anyone knows that the street is not the place to mold boys into true manhood. Some boys are seen smoking cigarettes and cigars. Cigarettes stunt the growth of children and dull the brain and reduce them to a low state of morality. In addition, any one who observes can see that from some source the boys in Hazard are getting ideas that true life is one of a wild, desperate nature, and that a man is not a man unless he carries a gun and is ever ready for trouble. Whether these ideas are coming from five-cent novels or from low class moving pictures, we cannot say. Moving pictures, like books, are splendid when they are the right kind but the "knock down and drag out kind" of either books or movies will do more to corrupt the minds of the youth than any other two things mentionable. 1920

Wednesday, April 28

Escape Across The River In The Darkness

Thieves broke into the Hazard Drug Store on Main Street around 2 AM on April 22nd 1930. They gained entrance by breaking the lock on the back door. They then jimmied open a steel cabinet containing the store's supply of prescription whiskey and carried away the entire stock of 115 pints of bonded liquor. After stealing the whiskey the robbers ransacked the store and took whatever appealed to their fancy. Their selections included a number of watches, several flashlights, a quantity of cigars, cigarettes, and $25 from the cash register.

The robbers took plenty of time to rob the store but from their subsequent actions their nerves must have been in some what shaky condition. They jumped in their getaway car, a stolen vehicle that belonged to a Cleveland, Ohio man who was visiting Dave Pritchard in Hazard. The vehicle had been parked in front of Prichard's home. The theives drove out Big Bottom and apparently thought the lights of an approaching car was that of the police. They headed down Maple Street and turned down an alley that led to the river near J.L. Johnson's residence, stopping near the edge of the river.

Meanwhile - Bill Johnson and Oscar Baker were staging an all night fishing party nearby. After hearing the commotion they decided to investigate. As they neared the car three men jumped out and ran towards the river and Johnson and Baker gave chase. Johnson overtook one of the men but during the tussle they fell on a barbed wire fence. Johnson, who was underneath, was cut in the arm by one of the fence barbs and thinking the man was using a knife, let go his hold. The man and his two partners in crime made their escape across the river in the darkness. 1930

Tuesday, April 27

'Till The Cows Come Home

The grass is growing in the Backwoods and the cows have about quit bothering Main Street. My hope is that one day in the future - Hazard will have a bigger police force so they can keep the cows, hogs and dogs off the streets. But for now it is only a dream because the cows and hogs in particular walk on the sidewalks and the dogs are so thick that women and children can hardly travel the streets without stepping on one.

I think everybody has forgotten how deep the mud was here last winter during the 1919 season. They're not building any sidewalks. They must think there will never be another winter. There are seven new brick buildings going up on Main Street, all of them modern. The old wooden shacks on the street will look a little strange standing next to the new buildings.

The clock at the Perry County Court House hasn't worked for years but still manages to be on time at least twice a day. The clock was struck by lightning many years ago and no one has ever had any luck getting it to run.

The women of Hazard are going to vote for the first time in a Presidential election this year. The Democrats have nominated James Cox. His running mate and vice Presidential candidate is Franklin D Roosevelt. The Republicans have chosen Warren G. Harding as their candidate. So it will be between Cox and Harding. 1920

Monday, April 26

What Fun, Oh, What Fun

I was growing up in Hazard, along with so many others, we more or less made our own entertainment. Oh, we had dolls, including paper dolls, and items we got for birthdays and Christmas, but most of us were outdoors youngans and hated to come in when darkness started to fall, take a bath, and be put to bed. Our windows were open and the cool night air circled the room while I lay and listened to the night sounds outside until my eyes finally drooped and then closed in peaceful sleep.

We did not have to unwind our minds from the stress of pushing buttons, moving “sticks”, punching remotes, but were so tired from romping up and down the hills and hollers that sleep was not a stressful sleep but very peaceful and our thoughts would take us to “dreamland” whereby we entered into a fantasy world of our own, awaking with a sound mind and body ready to meet a new day.

Let me tell you about some of our entertainment, my close friends and I, shared in those days. My favorite was a beautiful stick horse that Uncle Matt whittled on to make him a pinto pony, using one of his Sunday ties or an old belt for his neck, making him very special. I would put on my cowboy boots (with little guns at the side, yep I was a tomboy), and gallop away to my heart’s content.
Then, one of the ingenuous fun things, were to take two empty tin cans, the bigger the better, and smash each one with a foot, making sure the foot fit the dent, and each foot was adorned with the cans of our choice (as we always could find old tin cans), and we would run and play with these on our feet, seeing who could wear them the longer before they got loose and we had to quit. The noise they made on the pavement (after our holler got paved), I reckon, made us happier when we could outdo one another.

“Stilts” were the thing, but we had to be extra careful when using stilts and when Dad would make mine they got taller as I grew. My first stilts were not too tall, but when I graduated from that set, the next made me taller and I felt so big up there in the air, walking up to the porch and saying “boo” to Granny, who let me have a “boo” when she got closer to me that day. “Stilts” or mine, were made from sturdy trees that had sturdier branches that could be cut away and leave a place for my feet. They also made me “brought on” stilts that they would fashion out of boards and slats. I loved the tree stilts better because I could maneuver them.

And, one of the best I kept to last because I had so much fun with these “caissons” and I made the military song come to life as I played up and down the place known to me as “Big Bottom”, “…over hill over dale we would hit the dusty trail as my caisson kept rollin’ along…” Yep, I kept my caisson clean as a whistle, very possessive of the old castaway tire. We didn’t own a car so I had to look around the neighborhood for a cast off. I washed and shined it, and would carefully place myself inside it and push myself off and round and round I would go until I hit something or drug my foot along to stop me. I have always wondered why it did not make me dizzy but as I remember, it didn’t.
Oh, yeah, one more…we would watch for someone to get an appliance in a big cardboard box, which I would snap up right fast, have Dad cut it for me (a big flat piece) and I would take it up on a grassy knoll and get aboard and gleefully take off down the hill. What a carefree life, huh? You see, this kept us busy during the summer “grass sliding”, waiting for the snow to fall so we could really go sledding over the white stuff. The green stuff became brown stuff as the summer went by because we made it bare to the ground but what fun, oh, what fun!!!!

Friday, April 23

Not Hat No Way

Perry Circuit Judge Sam Ward slammed the lid down on "order" in the courtroom today, and caught Bob Cooksey under the lid. Said the judge, "Bob came wandering into the courtroom, talking loud and wearing his hat. I waited a while and he continued the talk and his hat stayed on his head, so I just sent the sheriff down to bring him before the bench." Deputy Sheriff Ballard Stidham, who is waiting on the sessions of court, escorted Mr. Cooksey to the bench after he had removed his hat. A fine of $2 was assessed against Cooksey and so entered on the books. Judge Ward said that his only goal was to improve the order in the court room and that he would not be hard on those who didn't know the rules but said that Cooksey "should know better." The judge has ordered all of the benches on which the visitors sit, moved well back from the jury rail, and he says he is doing everything he can to stop the common practice of having anyone who cared to slip in to the bench, even during trials. 1940

Thursday, April 22

Justice Late, But Justice Still

On the night of May 1st 1898, R. C. Knickols and Ballard Begley were out together playing cards in the Perry County Court House on Main Street. There was some trouble over the game and Knickols killed Begley by shooting him in the back. Knickols left the scene but was later captured on Owls Nest and brought back to Hazard and lodged in the Perry County jail. He was transferred to the Booneville jail in Owsley County and was indicted for murder and his case was to be tried in Owsley Circuit Court. However he escaped. Authorities were unable to locate Knickols and the search was eventually given up. 22 years past with no sign of the man who was wanted for murder. In 1920 - Rev. James Osborne was in Beckley, Indiana when he recognized Knickols. Osborne notified police who quickly arrested the fugitive. Authorities contacted Hazard police for information on the murder that happened back in 1898. Knickols was back behind bars.

Wednesday, April 21

Oddity of 1943

Perry County taxicab operators are being warned today that they must comply with the provisions of their license which limits the number of passengers which may be carried on any trip. It is said that a taxicab is limited to six passengers, and that in many instances on rush days some of the cars have been carrying eight to ten persons.

If a car carries more than six persons it will be rated as a bus and the operator will be forced to pay a license covering that class of vehicle.

Tuesday, April 20

Happy Hazard

by Frank S. K. Meyars (1920)

We live in a Kentucky town, where the golden sun shines down;
The moon, the stars give their light, while we converse in delight.

Independent of what others may say, we look forward to another day. Other states their envy can not hide, because we live and love in pride.

We enjoy the pure, free air, and know of nothing to compare, with the grand mountain life, which to the "city folks" would be strife.

But we are happy just the same, and not ashamed to bear the name, of being called a "Hazardite," which gives us joy and delight.

Sunday, April 18

Up To The Hub In Mud

Hazard, Kentucky, our beautiful little mountain city nestles so peacefully and securely in the small valleys and on the hills below the tops of the mountains along the north fork of the picturesque Kentucky River. During the last one hundred years, much progress has been made and many things have transpired that would make excellent historical reading - and it is all the more to our credit that what has been done was accomplished under handicaps and difficulties.

Just at the present time in 1920 - many business houses and homes are in the process of being built, and the sound of saw and hammer is heard on all sides of our pretty little city "in the hills of old Kentucky." This is music to every good citizen's ears, and they are watching with pride in their eyes each new building begun, knowing it will add just that much more to the up-building of the city. And those engaged in the construction of these new buildings seem possessed of a mind and will to work. In fact, all of our good people seem inbibed with the spirit of the Spring season and are putting new life into their work and ways of attending to their business. There is plenty of work here, of some sort, for us all to do, and there is no denying the fact that the busier a people are the more prosperous and contented they will become.

Let's all make up our minds that we will be entirely too busy to become engaged in unnecessary gossip and squabbles. One can not help but wonder, however, as he walks about the city and realizes the condition of the roads (we can't conscientiously call them streets) - especially during a wet season - and what an impediment they are to the speedy transportation of our building material and produce, as well as to passenger travel, just why it is that good streets have been so long neglected in our midst.

The highest progress of any city or town can never be reached until men and goods can be transported to it and through it with ease and facility. Mud a foot deep or more on the public thoroughfares is a nuisance, and a glaring obstacle to true development and growth. As long as we are known as a little city that is "up to the hub" in mud we cannot hope to draw very many new citizens or summer visitors. And, by the way, we can see no particular reason why people should not want to come to the mountains of Eastern Kentucky to spend their summers or vacations, where the nights are delightfully cool and refreshing, just as much as they flock to Asheville, N.C., or any other summer resorts of the Blue Ridge or the Appalachian range.

There must not be but a few reasons why we do not have these summer visitors in large numbers - and they are that our scenery and climate have not been made known to them, and we haven't the hotels or houses to accommodate them should they desire to come, and lastly, but by no means least, we have not the good roads for them to travel over and see the beauties and grandeur of the natural formation of our country round about. 1920

Tuesday, April 13

Trigg Mitchell, general manage of the Knott Coal Corporation visited the Grand Hotel for Supper only to find he had no money. He called over the waiter, Houston Hogg, who had waited on him many times and explained the situation. When Mr. Mitchell faced the cashier he found out that his check was already paid by Mr. Hogg, and other waiters and waitresses such as Paul Davis, & Carol Rose. 1944

Monday, April 12

S' Funny Ain't It?

An auto crash with considerable mystery attached to it occurred near Christopher. A Chevrolet coach and a Nash roadster figured in the bump and when the dust had cleared away both cars were across the railroad tracks, the Nash headed towards the river with its two front wheels over the bank just about ready to roll down into the water. And here's where the mystery comes in. Both drivers were unknown to any of the witnesses of the smash and the driver of the Chevrolet jumped out and tore the license plate from his machine and departed from the scene in a very rapid manner leaving his car to its fate. The driver of the Nash found that his vehicle would still run and managed to get it back on the road and then he stepped on the gas for parts unknown. The Chevrolet was moved off the tracks but left at the scene of the accident. Again some unknown parties came and removed this car leaving no hint behind of who they were or where they were going. Usually when anyone has a wreck they want the other parties names or have them arrested or something of the sort but these two drivers seemed determined to shun the white light of publicity in all its forms. S" funny ain't it? 1930

Sunday, April 11

The boys and girls at Hazard High School are rehearsing daily a Japanese Musical Comedy, Miss Cherry Blossom. The play will be presented under the direction of Miss Ruth Lynn, director of high school music of the local high school. The cast will consist of such well known students as Pauline Combs, Homer Eversole, Cecil Whitaker, Forest Cornett, Fred Bullard, Sarah Whittinghill, Carleton Allais and Lester Baker. About 50 high school pupils will participate in the choruses. The story of the play is essentially that of love and intrigue with the climax coming when Cherry and Jack marry, and all ends happily. The students under the direction of Miss Lynn, are giving much time to rehearsals and the play has every promise of being a pleasing one. 1930

Friday, April 9

Big Tales Of The Past

Family reunions allow us to honor loved ones that have passed on, it gives the younger generations a chance to learn something about their families, a day to make acquaintances of your children, as well as some of we older ones. To me, reunions are a time to gather to eat, to meet, not to preach or politic, but to have a friendly gathering to spill big tales of the past, also to look forward to the future. I know that many of you have kin folks you didn't know about. I have a picture of Oliver Hazard Perry in the window of the Davis Brother's Store. Bill Perry of the H & P Market in Hazard walked in and asked me how I got hold of a picture like that. He stated that Oliver was his great, great, great grandfather. It is things like this that makes us say we should have a record of our ancestors. 1960

Thursday, April 8

Oddity of 1941

A freak windstorm, which lasted less than ten minutes, ripped down Hazard's Main Street and caused a considerable amount of damage. Most of the harm was confined to the Leader Store's front where ten large pieces of plate glass were broken and merchandise picked up and deposited 200 feet away at the end of an adjoining alley. A large neon sign was blown over and besides being damaged extensively, tore numerous holes in the roof. Skylights in the Major Store building were broken out.

Wednesday, April 7

This Old House

One of Perry County's most romantic and legendary landmarks is the old Johnson home at Chavies. It is reputed to be the oldest dwelling in Perry County.

The two-story home, located just off Kentucky 28 at Chavies is now owned by Paul Johnson, postmaster at Chavies. Paul is the grandson of Tom Johnson, who built the house about the time of the Civil War.

Paul's father, S.B. Johnson, better known simply as "Brown" to the residents of Chavies, is the closest living link with the traditions associated with the old home. Brown was born on the farm 82 years ago, when the property surrounding the house covered over 2,000 acres of timberland owned by the family.

Brown now lives with his son Paul in a large frame house within sight of his birthplace. Every day he walks the few yards up the road to the store and post office, where he spends quiet morning hours reading newspapers and sometimes telling stories of his family's history.

One if his favorite stories concerns his father's participation in the Civil War as an officer in the Union Army. Thomas F. Johnson and two brothers-in-law, Billy and Abner Eversole, went together in forming a company of infantry composed of mountain men.

By previous agreement, the man who signed the most recruits would be Captain of the company. Thomas Johnson wound up 1st Lieutenant under Captain Billy Eversole.

Perhaps the most violent engagement the company was involved in, other than several mild skirmishes, was the Battle of Richmond, Kentucky. Brown Johnson still chuckles when he recalls his own elders telling him about the battle. One relative came home wounded in the back of his leg, relates Mr. Johnson. The man vowed he became a casualty during the vigorous charge at Richmond. But he was never able to successfully explain to his relatives just why the wound was in the back of his leg.

There is considerable humor and irony in many of the old family stories Brown Johnson reflects upon today. In one case an attempt to instill the habit of truth into a daughter back-fired on Johnson's maternal grandfather, Joe Eversole. It seems that when Mr. Eversole was home on leave from the Union Army he was forced to hide out in his own home from a band of marauding Rebels.

The Rebels asked Eversole's daughter where her father was. Remembering the life-long counsel her father had given on the virtue of always being truthful, the little Eversole girl replied, "He's upstairs hiding out." The Rebels then dragged Mr. Eversole from the house, took him down the trail toward Krypton, and killed him. 1960

Tuesday, April 6

Ed Burris, who is eighty years young, tells me this story. A drunk was well along in his cups when he entered a cemetery in the wee hours of the morning. He laid down in a sink hole and covered himself up in leaves to sleep the stupor off. It seems that some of the relatives were cleaning off the cemetery the next morning, I would say way up in the day. They decided the best way to get rid of the leaves in the sink hole was to burn them. Ed said when the fire got hot enough around this drunk that had taken refugee there, he jumped up and ran like a scalded dog. It also frightened the ones that were working as they thought someone had risen from the grave. Ed says it sure did create a lot of excitement. This I can well understand. I can recall tall tales about cemeteries when I was a small boy. In fact, when I had to go through some of these places to reach my destination, above all when it was getting a little dark, boys believe me it would have taken a very fleeting ghost to have caught me. 1960

Monday, April 5

New Fangled Gadget

I remember when Dad came in and had them bring in the new TV, we all gathered around it. I was still doing the "radio" thing myself and was so avid in doing so that I think today this love of "listening" instead of "watching" gave me a chance to use my brain and dream up visions of what I was listening to. I loved lying in the floor near the "voice box" and as the words entered my ears, my brain started working overtime for I left my old floor and almost crossed over into the radio itself, making myself a part of what was going on. Honestly, I was good at that, I loved making myself come to life in what was happening at that given moment.

With that said, we all waited for the TV to be hooked up. I think we watched the Ed Sullivan show. By the time it was hooked up, we had a good audience. Our family members seemed interested but not carried away by it. I lived in a house of old timers who didn't cater too much to "new fangled" gadgets, as Granny would say. It was in black and white and had a pretty cabinet to it that you could shut when not in use. Later, Daddy got tired of that big "thang with such a little screen" that he traded it in on another model and this one sat on a pedestal that came up from the floor. It was odd looking but didn't take up the space the other one did. And, by that time they were coming up with pieces of plastic one could drape over the picture tube and you could have color. Dad chose green and believe you me it was odd sitting there looking at green people.

One evening we were watching Ed Sullivan and he had on a Bolshovic (sp) type of show where according to Granny, "them hussies hiking up their skirts and showing their drawers, or what they had on twern't drawers but "scanties" and jus' take a gander at that man holding that woman's butt in his hand, lifting her up over his head, reckon he gets to look a-plenty. Turn that evil thang off, Howard, turn it off now, these youngans don't need to see such to-dos as this." It really was a beautiful ballet number but she saw it with her eyes and I saw it with mine. We shore lived in two different worlds, I reckon.

The news traveled up the holler and all over Big Bottom, "Howard bought him a TV". Well, here come the kids from all over and they would sit out on the porch and watch through the door, then Dad would finally get up and invite them in to watch this or that only if they behaved. Behaved they did, and it was a pattern that every evening here they would come ready to watch tv.

The little screen got larger as time passed, I grew up, leaving my old radio behind, to watch the TV. Back then, there were good programs that you didn't have to worry about your children learning how to kill, rape, rob, etc. In fact, some of the early programs, did a good job of teaching my children good stuff. I have gotten much older, TV has progressed to a point where I rarely find anything that will keep me glued to its tube, and when my grands and great-grands are around I have to keep on my toes to see they don't see a bare butt or a lot of expletives. TV is still teaching its way, but nothing it teaches is worth a plugged nickle.

Friday, April 2

Country Ingenuity

A little bit of country ingenuity is bringing television to the mountains to the good people of Hazard, Kentucky. Despite the community's location in a natural bowl, a situation which normally hinders TV reception, local initiative found the answer to the knotty problem in a combination of hill-top antennae and house-to-house coaxial lead-ins. This gave Hazard (population 10,000), reception of two stations in Cincinnati and one in Huntington, West Virginia. The nearest of these beams its programs from a distance of ninety airline miles. Ordinarily, a receiver has its own large tower, which will do the work of many small aerials, on top of a 1000-foot mountain. They carved a road to within two hundred feet of the peak. From the roadway, materials for the tower and antennae were toted the rest of the way by hand. The TV cables were run down the mountainside from the tower, strung along poles of the local power and light company, and fed into the houses of set owners. TV had come to Hazard! 1951

Thursday, April 1

Warmest Place I Know

A man's best friend is his dog. The old adage still holds true. I won't mention any names because his wife might get jealous, but I recall one cold night coming back from a coon hunt with a friend of mine that I have done a lot of hunting with. We were riding in a Model A Ford and the dogs had been in the water when we got them in. We had no heater in this car. My friend said "I'm gonna to crawl back here in the back with these wet dogs because that is the warmest place I know of." Try to sleep close to a wet dog sometime. Believe it or not, they will throw off enough heat that you might think you are close to one of those old time Depot Stoves. 1960

Tuesday, March 16

Howard's Homebrew

I was guilty of lifting the linen cover off of a crock that was in our basement. It was just family business to use the crocks for pickling beans, corn, etc. but there was something else "brewing" in the crock besides kraut. I had several little friends with me and it was fun to lift the cover and dip into the kraut. I pulled back the cover, looked down into the crock and commented as I drank from my cupped up hand, "gee, the kraut is all gone but the juice is shore good." I invited my little friends to partake of the "kraut juice" which they did, cupping their little hands to be sure and get a good "swig". There were three of us and we dipped and drank, dipped and drank, until we all were "crocked". It was a very hot day and the basement was cool and we sat down and began to laugh, non-stopping. The day became evening and then dusky dark. We were still "stewed to the gills" and all we could do is giggle as we heard our parents going up and down the holler trying to find out where we could be. We heard them yelling for us but we could do nothing but giggle. I heard Mom, "Idy, if you are hiding and I find you, you will get a licking." I somewhat knew what she was saying but really didn't let it bother me. We huddled together listening as Mom's voice got closer and closer. She stood outside the basement (the screen door was open) and looked into the coal bin, we weren't there...then she noticed that the basement door was open and she looked and Richard giggled loudly when he saw her and his mother standing there...Mom said, "I hear them but can't see them." Mom stepped inside and almost fainted when she saw me and two of my good little pals "drunk". They pulled us up, Mom stood me up, the other two Moms did the same. Mom was mortified at the situation and said, "Idy, what in pete's name have you been doing?" All I could muster out was, "Mommy, we been drinking kraut juice, the kraut was all gone but the juice shore was good." Mom screamed out, "Lordy mercy, they've been into Howard's homebrew, it shore wan't kraut juice." You see, Daddy had put up some homebrew, and had told me, "Idy, stay away from this crock because we don't want the kraut to spoil." Yep, Daddy was making homebrew."Bless these little youngans, they got "soaked" on Howard's homebrew. Now, don't this take the rag off'n the bush?"Needless to say, Daddy made no more homebrew in the basement.

Monday, March 15

Perpetual Motion

Frank Foreman Sr. offers an old time remedy for the belly ache. Frank says just pour a little liniment (he didn't say what kind) into the navel. It is a sure cure. If it is some I know of that is hotter than a depot stove, I know that it will cure the belly ache because it will start a fire so much worse, that you are bound to forget your ailment. Bunch of us boys used some once on a cat. It hasn't been heard of since. Also used some on a dog. You could hear him running the ridges all night long, his howls were easily followed for about three days and nights. I doubt if he was howling at a fox or coon. Speaking of the dog running like he did, few nights ago I stopped at a drive in to get me a sandwich. Low and behold three young gals were sitting next to me. I mean their car was next to mine. All three had a wad of gum in their mouths and at times they sounded just like that old hound, first it would be a pop, then a clackety clack, wham, jam, bam, then they would get down to a steady rhythm such as this, chomp, champ, chawing gum in my favorite past time. I believe it was the nearest thing that I have ever seen to perpetual motion in all my life. Their jaws were working faster than any motor could have driven them. I often wonder who is to blame, the teenager or the parents? 1960

Friday, March 12

Wonderful Home Made Kraut

In the past few weeks I don't think I have ever heard of so many ailing people. Some call it the flu, others say it is a foreign type such as Asian, I will agree with you what ever it is, or where it came from, it is something hard to wrestle with. I have heard of various remedies that could help. One today was Cherry Bark, Mullen Leaves with a lot of honey. Another was Spirits mixed with rock candy with either molasses or honey. I talked with two of my friends from over Hyden way, that came to Hazard to find the rock candy. I beleive they have the best formula to date. It won't be too hard to make. It will have to be least 120 proof before it will take effect. I received a clipping today stating that Sauerkraut was supposed to have orginated from the German people. It states that kraut was on the menu of the workers that built the great China Wall in the 3rd century B.C. during the reign of Emperor Shih Huang, that they use to use wine to cure the kraut, that it was used until the last century when they found out that salt cured their cabbage into much better kraut. I dare say they haven't eaten any kraut that has been made by our people here in Eastern Kentucky. Well I can rememember going into the cellar, lifting a big rock off the crock, course there was always a linen or cloth cover between the rock and the kraut. I have had my hiney spanked many times for dipping my hands into the crock to get a big handful of that wonderful home made kraut. This was not the only thing that our people here in Kentucky put up this way. They had beans, corn, some of it had an awful smell until it got to your plate, then folks, I didn't see any of them turn their noses up. It is too bad that we have drifted away from the teachings of our forefathers. 1960

Thursday, March 11

It was 1946, and the snow had been falling for several days and the drifts were getting bigger and bigger. My Mom was pregnant with my brother and I could tell something was wrong. I was at the age that I knew she was going to have a new baby but didn't know when (folks didn't discuss that sort of thing where youngans could hear back then) and although they would say that the stork would visit, I knew better. Anyhow, the snow was falling and when lights would hit it purely sparkled like diamonds. Sort of like white fairy dusk, I reckon.It was beginning to get dusky outside and Dad told me that I had to get ready to go next door and visit with my friends for a while. I told him I had rather stay beside the fire and read. My Mom was in another part of the house and I was not to bother her at this time for she needed rest. Dad came to me again and asked me to walk to the window and see what he had done. Well, lo and behold, the drifts had piled so high it was impossible for me to walk across the little street to get to the neighbors who were waiting on me. What did Dad do? He shoveled and shoveled and him and Uncle Matt made a pathway big enough for two people to walk abreast to get me from my porch to theirs without a problem. A snow tunnel, of all things! Mercy, thinking back this was beautiful. I was walking between two walls of frozen snow that hit me about my waist. You talk about being in a wonderland, I was, Idy in a snow wonderland and I could hear my mother but Dad told me they would have a big surprise for me by morning. I heard someone say that Dr. J. P. was with Mom and it wouldn't be long now. The clock showed 11:45. I could not sleep and soon there was a rap at the door and my Dad had come to get me to walk me back to our house through the snow tunnel. Lights were ablaze at 109 Liberty and Dad took me into see Mom and I seen my surprise lying in her arms, Dr. J. P. made sure I got closer and then he handed the baby boy to me. And, you know, it was a while thereafter that I came to the conclusion that Dr. J. P. could not have carried that baby in his little black bag no matter what my Granny told me.

Wednesday, March 10

Keep Your Heels Warm

With about nine inches of snow, the wind is howling, I am beginning to think like Roy Baker, makes a man think what he has done with his summer wages. White Jim Combs says he remembers a winter similar to this and he recalls my grandmother's sister, Aunt Isabelle Feltner. It seems that she had some great big gals, it was getting close to milking time, Aunt Isabelle was worrying about getting the milking done. It seems that the girls were backed up to the fire, picking up first one foot then the other getting them warm. Aunt Isabelle was becoming impatient. She blurted out, "I don't know what has come over you girls. If you don't have enough heat in your hind-parts to keep your heels warm, I don't know what is going to happen to you." I know that many of you can remember those days when it was hard to get started to the stable to feed the stock and milk. I often wonder if the younger generation hasn't had it too easy, or maybe the old folks sorta eased off with the modern times and inventions that made all our lives a little more convenient. 1960

Tuesday, March 9

Global Warming?

I can recall a few years ago some crack pot stated that the universe of our country was changing. Believe he predicted that in some areas that was having cold weather would in time reverse itself with sunshine such as the good state of Florida advertises.

We've had the worst winter some say since 1917, others say 1925, some say 1934. Regardless of how bad the others were, this has been a hum dinger. It was up to 16 inches deep on a flat surface. This last snow I would say has been the more damaging. It was a wet snow that hung on to everything. It has broken down trees, power lines, caused roads to be more hazardous. As I sit here this morning looking out over the mountains in their white cloaked snow drifts, it is hard for me to admire this kind of beauty. It is a beautiful sight in one angle of one's mind. To me I am the worry wart I guess. I am thinking what should happen if we had a very quick melting of all this snow, maybe linked with a warm rain. I can only visualize the muddy waters that could cause another great flood. Our last flood was in 1957. Some say these things only happen once every 20 years. We had better get busy now if you recall the Buckhorn Dam and the Jackson cut off was started back in the thirties. Regardless of what the weather man says, this can't last too much longer because Spring is officially here coming March 20th. We all know that date is authentic and I know you are expecting everything to be good and clear by that date. 1960

Monday, March 8

Hello From 50 Years Ago

We are still snowed in with from ten to twenty four inches on the north sides. Your roads in some of the rural areas have been a mess and it will be for months. I want to hear from any of you that has ever seen a worse two months as we have had. I have talked to several old timers and they say this will equal anything they have ever seen. George Campbell, who is 84 years young, stated that the only difference in this weather than in 1917 was the river froze over then. He stated it would have been this time if the river had not been too flush. I am keeping my fingers crossed and hoping that old man river doesn't get too flush when all this snow does start to melt in a big way. You know the old saying -"a burnt child is always afraid of fire." I am afraid many of us will be watching old man river if it starts coming up as the thaw goes out, if and when the thaw will come. As some one said today it will take until the Fourth of July for all this snow to melt. Others say it will be one of the finest fruit years that we have ever known. Confound if I can see it, because the big cherry tree in my yard just split in two from all this snow. 1960

Monday, February 22

A Real Treat

I had the privilidge of knowing Ray Langdon since I was a young boy. We use to go to the middle fork of the Kentucky River to camp out. We usually made camp near Ray's house. We used his boat, in fact, everything that we needed. The very first real bright lights I ever saw was at Ray's house. They were Aladdin Lamps. This was a real treat to see how bright they burned in his house. He took all the pains in this world to see that we boys had a fine time while over there. This I would say he carried on for many years.

He taught school and enjoyed it and served on the Leslie County School board. Ray was a friend to all that would let him be. He was displaced during the building of the Buckhorn Reservour. This didn't bother Ray in the least. He would only say, "that is progress for our people."

Friday, January 29

January 29th 1957, so many of you were wondering where your loved ones might be, so many of you were stranded from your homes and families. Many of you had no homes left after the flood, neither did you know at that time what the future held for you. I believe many of you turned your eyes to the good man above, and sooner or later you found happiness and joy in knowing that your family had not perished in the waters that caused such devastation.

I often wonder if we are as thankful and look to the guidance of a supreme being as we should. Are we only grateful at the time we need him, then so easily to forget what our blessings are. I am afraid that so many that came out of this disaster have forgotten all about it, or maybe are waiting for leadership in trying to prevent it from occurring again. Who, when and where, this will happen - your guess will be as good as mine. I do know that without a united effort being made. We will still be sitting ducks awaiting for the waters to rise again. We are going to have to voice our opinions as we did in 1957, that is if we expect to be recognized in our efforts to prevent floods in the future. 1962

Sunday, January 24

One Of A Kind

Emma B. Ross is the reason that I write today. I entered Hazard High School and at that time they had three courses to choose from, (1) General Course (that would get you graduated); (2) Commercial Course (that would teach you the basics for the business world, i.e., shorthand, typing, bookkeeping, economics, etc.); and (3) The College Course (which would prepare you for your college entry). I chose the Commercial Course because I was interested in the subjects and that gave me the ability to work 46 years (mostly in the legal field) and more than a few people thought that I had been through college. I had to put this in here because I am so proud of my education received at Hazard High School where you were taught by the "cream of the crop". The roster of teachers far excelled anything in the Bluegrass Area of our fair state.

Mrs. Ross manned the hallway, which means she was always standing outside her classroom where she could view the coming and going of the students or walking up and down to make sure no one was up to "hanky panky" (oh, no, not in our halls of ivy). She was a private person, leaned toward the male gender. Her glance was off a little and you could not tell if she was looking at you or somewhere else. As a Freshman I heard all the bad things they said about her, not bad things but stuff like, "her husband died on their honeymoon, that is why she bears scars and all and she seems angry all the time..." I always made sure that when I passed her that I was watching my step so she would not pull me aside.

Time went on and I became a Junior and my love was Literature (remains so today) and I learned that I had to take Junior and Senior English. My skill was not that good in English but good enough, I suppose. I was seated near her desk right beside Wally McDaniel. She loved Wally (Wally was loved by all the girls). One of her strong things was to prepare you to talk in front of the class. Oh, I hated this to the 9th degree but I knew it had to be done. She gave me my assignment and it was something about dating and the taboos, etc. Well, I was ashamed to get up there and speak on this subject. Uncle Matt let me use him as a sounding board and my first speaking assignment was ready. I was told not to memorize but I found early on that memorizing was one of my main qualities. I went over it enough and of course got it down pat. I stood up there right by her desk. I began to speak and was so scared that I thought I was going to wet my pants right there. I looked at Wally and he was grinning. I looked at others who seemed to be watching Mrs. Ross more than myself, and hating the time my talk was up and theirs would start. Uncle Matt told me to put emphasis here and there and not to let it sound like it was memorized. I did that and she was up out of her chair and pointed at me, "You can now take your seat." I just knew I had failed my speaking assignment. She walked in between the seats and stood there and praised my efforts and from that time on she knew me and my love for her subjects.

I did not join clubs in High School, only the Glee Club and FHA because I committed myself to read about 7 books a week and then I skated pair skating with my Dad, so I didn't have interest in the Clubs. I loved watching the dramas she would put on and I missed that chance I suppose but I doubt she would have called on my anyhow.

She lived in an apartment down below the High School and I saw her coming and going a lot, to and from school, and then just going home up Baker Hill. She always appeared lonely to me, very seldom smiling, or I didn't see her smiling too much. She was a dedicated teacher and I guess her teaching gave her comfort and the papers she would have to grade, etc. would take some of her time at night, or I always hoped she would keep herself busy grading papers and preparing the next day's activities. She loved to read out loud and she would call on us to read out loud also.

I would sit in awe of her when she would begin to read from Chaucer's Canterbury Tales. She was on top of the old English and she could spout it out fluently. Her eyes would wander even when she read to see if her class was listening. There were times that I saw the makings of a smile on her lips when she was deep into reading one of the stanzas. She wanted her class to learn English Literature and she instilled it in me. I became engrossed in English Literature and she saw I loved the subject. I knew when she called me down while reading aloud that it was for my own good, not hers. I wish I could have thanked her more because my love for her and her subjects led me toward my favorite hobby, the writing of short stories and poetry. I would have loved for her to have critiqued some of my work but she was gone by then.

Mrs. Ross was one of a kind. Her ability to manage a classroom to the hilt was beyond comparison. Her ambition for the girls and boys in her class was very evident in the way she prepared us. I know the boys and girls who joined her Club (she was very picky whom she let into her Club) got an education in high school acting (which excelled in my book beyond high school), speaking, drams, etc. through the efforts of Mrs. Emma B. Ross. I give her the credit for my love of literature and books in general. She was the force behind us all. Some loved it, others hated the sight of that room.

I wish I could read to her as she read to me. Her memory is etched in my "archives" and I can see her face as I type this. She left her mark on me and so many others. I never could erase the thought of her losing her husband on their honeymoon and that she was so alone. She handled it and her life centered around Hazard High School and I wish all the teens could have walked those hallowed "Halls of Ivy" when she was doing the monitoring.

Mrs. Emma B. was special in so many ways. I guess the way I imagine I can smile as I finish this thinking she might be walking the streets of gold hand in hand with her young husband.