My Daughters and their Husbands

My Daughters and their Husbands
This blog will be bits and pieces of my rather simple life, but should provide my daughters with some things they may not know about me. There will be entries here when thoughts come to mind. The posts will be mostly anecdotal and will deal with interesting or unusual events in my earlier life. As a person gets older, many memories pop up periodically about events of the past. I want this blog to be a repository for some of these memories which I wish to share with my daughters.

Saturday, September 25, 2010


Christy and Tiffany,

(September 25, 2010) This Saturday morning I started thinking about bowling, for some strange reason. I guess it is because when I was in junior high school and high school, I was a member of a bowling league that met every Saturday morning. Well, actually, during my early years in junior high (ca. 1962-63) I walked, with my friend Mike Mullins, to the bowling alley not far from my house, and we just bowled every Saturday morning.

In 1964 until I graduated in 1967, I trudged the mile or so to another bowling alley where I was a member of the "Lucky Five" bowling team made up of David Wallen (an accountant in Beckley), Lynda Stone, Bill O'Brien (1971 picture - he worked at WJLS radio in Beckley for many years and bought the station in the 1990s), Ricky Lewis and me. We won the championship two years, and I have trophies given at that time.

I would day-dream in school about Saturdays and envision bowling a 300 game (it never happened). I had an average of 160-170 (OK, actually 140-150) and the highest game I bowled was 264. We had a good time and often the team would meet at social events in each others houses for a party.

As a sidebar - I did bowl in a third bowling alley in Beckley called the Elite Bowling Lanes. It was the first lanes in Beckley and had "pin boys," guys who worked at picking up the pins and placing them in the pin setter. The first time I bowled there, I wasn't aware that I had to wait for the pin boys to pick up the pins and rolled my second ball. I saw a leg moving very quickly behind the pins and a voice came from down the alley yelling, "Hey, to trying to #%^@!! kill me?" I learned to wait for the pin boys to do their thing after the first ball.

I also bowled with Aunt Anna Lee and Woodie in Nitro. Neither my mother nor father bowled, but they enjoyed watching us bowl.

I can also recall watching bowling on TV on Saturday afternoons and seeing bowlers like Don Carter and Dick Weber, early stars of the Professional Bowlers Conference. They were inspiring and as much of heroes to me as Micky Mantle, Yogi Berra, Johnny Bench and Whitey Ford in baseball, Johnny Unitas in football, and Jerry West and Larry Bird in basketball.

Bowling played a big part of my life before going to college. It was what I did, and I did it fairly well.



Tuesday, September 21, 2010



(SEPTEMBER 21, 2010) I just recently came across my Boy Scout uniform. It brought back memories, both good and bad.

I was in troop #6 in Beckley that met every week at the First Baptist Church. My scout leader Mr. A--, though a large man, looked like a leader in his uniform. However, he didn't do a lot with the scouts.

I recall a hike we took (about 3-5 miles) one Saturday morning. It was more of an urban highway hike along the side of the 19-21 bypass. We had our peer leaders leading us on while learning some hiking chants (some were a bit bawdy). Our adult leader met us at the final destination, having arrived in his car. He was, however, to admired for taking on the troop since he had no sons - only one daughter whose name was B--.

I can remember the evenings at our meetings as we worked on merit badges - tying knots, cooking on a campfire, and doing other activities that led to winning the cherished badges. During my span of 3-4 years as a scout I accumulated over 30 badges, leading to LIFE scout (2 badges away from my EAGLE badge - Swimming and Lifesaving). Had I gone one more summer to scout camp in Bland, Va, I could have worked on the two badges, but my experiences there in the past had not been positive.

I guess that I'm too much of a "comfort freak" since I could never get used to sleeping on a "straw tick" (a sewn up sheet stuffed with fresh straw outside the cabin. I also found that the scouts often did not act "scout like." Some were downright gross. Though I enjoyed the activities during the day, the guys in my cabin were not pleasant to be around.

I earned the "God and Country" award with the help of my mother tutoring a friend of mine and me in Bible verses and other material we would be tested on. I earned that award, and my mother was as pleased as if I had earned the EAGLE. I sometimes regret not having earned the last two merit badges to earn my EAGLE. However, I think that the experience helped mold me into the type of person I am today - TRUSTWORTHY, LOYAL, HELPFUL, FRIENDLY, COURTEOUS, KIND, OBEDIENT, CHEERFUL, THRIFTY, BRAVE, CLEAN AND REVERENT. The Boy Scouts made a difference in my life.



Sunday, September 12, 2010



(SEPTEMBER 12, 2010) It wasn't until my sophomore year that I decided to join a fraternity. Some of my friends had joined fraternities. One friend from Beckley had joined Kappa Alpha Order, and had invited me to join. I declined because I couldn't envision myself dressing up in a confederate uniform on "OLD SOUTH WEEKEND" and being in a fraternity that lacked diversity. Another friend had joined Sigma Tau Epsilon, a popular frat on campus, but again, I didn't want to join because it was made up of mostly athletes and right winged conservatives.

I went to several frat parties during the fall of 1968 and decided to join ZBT because it was diverse in nature (ZBT had been, traditionally, a Jewish frat, but in the hard times of getting members in the late 60s and early 70s, had taken non-Jews by a great number). It was also the first traditionally white frat to pledge black students on the Marshall campus. My pledge class had the first two black members - John Shellcroft, a brilliant student leader, and Dennis Blevins, a star on the football team (he died on the tragic flight that killed most of the football team in November 1970 along with another brother, Mark Andrews). We were very close to Delta House in the movie "Animal House" in many ways, except we were more diverse.

Though the frat was a fraternity that partied, we were also very civic active in the Huntington community heading a number of charitable events each year. Such events helped to foster brotherhood and cooperation among the brothers.

As a pledge, I spent most of the semester at the frat house, cleaning, running errands, and working, pretty much, as a slave to the members. I took my "serfdom" seriously, doing whatever I was asked to do. A couple of the rituals I recall from the pledge semester were the following:

1. We had to carry a box of matches with us, and for the brothers who smoked, be ready to light up their cigs. In addition, any member could approach us and require us to light a match and recite the "revised" Greek alphabet (the Greek alphabet has 24 letters; the revised one has a 25th letter - "SIR") twice before we could extinguish the match. No prob, and I did learn the Greek alphabet that way.

2. One week we were required to carry an umbrella everywhere we went - it had to be opened outdoors, even on the sunniest of days. I have a scar on my left index finger from tripping over the umbrella while riding the escalator up to a class in Smith Hall.

3. HELL WEEK. One of the longest weeks of my life. Each evening we went to the frat house, had supper, and then worked at cleaning the house from top to bottom while being harassed by the brotherhood. Some of the brothers were very kind, while others were real - sons-of-guns. One was the "Miss Hannigan" of the brothers, and I never learned to either like him or respect him. Once I was a member, though I lived in the house during the spring semester of my Sophomore year, I was always kind to pledges.

I did live in the house for one semester (on 5th Avenue in Huntington - the house is no longer there having been torn down to build a university building). Had I stayed in the house longer than that, I would still be an undergraduate at Marshall. It was a fun semester, but my GPA suffered, somewhat, even though our frat remained the one on campus with the highest GPA. We did have tutors in the house and also a "test file." I enjoyed the semester, but was glad to get back to my own apt. for the chance to have some solitude, something not very possible in the house.

My "big brother" was Conley Grimes, a great guy who was one of the "kind" brothers. I have, unfortunately, not kept up with him (the result of my own pitiful choice, not his). He is in Richmond doing some kind of business work. Here is a link to a recent pictures of my brothers that includes Conley (he has changed, as have I). Just looking at this pic brings back a lot of memories about the brothers. Again, I have been delinquent in keeping in touch, not having done so. Perhaps that needs to change :).

As with "Animal House," there were some given names to members. I was dubbed "Red Whale," one brother was "Jeep," another "Wild Hair," and another "Hose." We had a mixture of members from jocks to the president of the Student Body (plus he was also editor of the yearbook - he, Gary King, died in the late 70s or early 80s as the result of a skydiving accident near Charleston - he had a great deal of potential as a leader, and would have likely gone on to some high elected office in government). We also had some pot heads, student newspaper photographers, and musicians. Of the frats on campus, we had, perhaps, the most talented in the greatest number of areas.

One event I recall was on Mother's Day, 1970. There was the traditional "Mother's Day Sing" that was held by the frats and sororities on Mother's Day Sunday. My mother and father were there. We were dressed in hideously "gay" outfits, carried helium filled balloons and sang "Windy," a song by the Association. We won.

I found a 1970 pic of my brothers and me. I am in the fifth row from the top, the second pic from the left.

I enjoyed the frat while I was at Marshall. It was a good group of friends and proved to provide wonderful social opportunities while there.