Sunday, July 24, 2016

One Specific Day

©Linda Goodman July 24, 2016
(This story is adapted from the book of John, Chapter 6, verses 1-14)

            Once Jesus was preaching near the Sea of Galilee. A huge crowd of people had come to see him because rumor had it that Jesus would be healing the sick that day. Jesus did not disappoint. He made the deaf hear, the blind see, and the crippled whole. He also healed various skin diseases feared by the general populace.
            Healing on such a scale left Jesus drained, so he retreated into the hills with his disciples to rest and renew his energy. The crowd, however, followed him. They did not want to let him out of their sight.
            For his part, Jesus felt sorry for these people. They had spent an entire day with him, and there was no food to be had nearby. He knew that they must be hungry. “Where can we get food for this crowd?” Jesus asked his disciple Philip.
            Philip was incredulous. “Lord, what are you suggesting? There are five thousand men in that crowd, and also women and children. We could work for months and still not have money enough to feed them all.”
            A young boy overheard their conversation, and tugged on the robe of another disciple, Andrew. “I have a basket of bread and fish that my mother prepared for me,” the boy said. “It is too much food for a young boy like me to eat. Please take it and give it to the hungry people. My mother will not mind such a kindness.”
            Andrew looked into the basket. Then he turned, laughing heartily, to Jesus and said, “Master, this young boy thinks that we can feed this crowd with only five loaves of bread and two fish!”
            Jesus sighed. “O ye of little faith,” he muttered; then commanded Andrew, “Give me the bread.”
            Andrew did as he was asked and gave all the loaves of bread to Jesus, who prayed over the bread and requested that his disciples distribute it to the people. Then he did the same thing with the fish.
            The people were told to eat as much as they wanted. After all of them had eaten their fill, Jesus asked his disciples to gather the leftovers, so that there would be nothing wasted. The disciples did as they were asked and gathered twelve baskets of bread and fish. Jesus had used the contents of the young boy’s basket to work a miracle.

            The Bible does not tell us the name or age of this young boy. It does not tell us if he went to school or what kind of work he would be trained to do. Nor does it tell us if he eventually raised a family; and yet today, more than 2,000 years later, the whole world knows about that young boy’s faith and kindness on this one specific day in his life, when he trusted Jesus to feed more than 5,000 people with the food he offered.  To this very day, the story of his selfless act and his innocent faith on that one day is told in Sunday Schools and preached in sermons all over the world.  

Thursday, June 30, 2016

Pretty Colors


©Linda Goodman June28, 2016

                  Recently one of my friends saw a photo of me in a colorful dress that I had worn to my oldest granddaughter’s high school graduation.
                “You know, you don’t have to dress up like an Easter egg just because you’re getting older,” she advised.
                I objected to that remark.  “What do you mean? How do I dress like an Easter Egg?”
                “All the bright colors,” she replied.  “Old people think bright colors keep them from looking washed out. But they don’t. They just make them look ridiculous…. like human Easter Eggs.”
                I resented that.  I did not wear bright colors because I was getting older. I wore them because I liked them. “I love lime green, hot pink, and turquoise.  And I was wearing those colors long before I got old,” I explained.
                My friend just shook her head. “Well, you still look like an Easter Egg,” she sighed.
                As I later pondered this exchange, a memory was jogged.
                In 1999, I was browsing through the merchandise in a vintage clothing consignment shop in Richmond, VA. I was drawn like a magnet to a flowered suit that I found there.  It was a cream color, splashed with bright purple and pink flowers, just like the suits that I had admired back in the seventies.  I loved it enough to pay a ridiculous price for it.
                That same year, I decided to stop dying my hair and let my silver roots grow. I liked my silver hair, but I resented the fact that all of a sudden, every place I shopped was giving me its senior citizen discounts without even asking first.
                In 2008, the international corporation that I worked for decided to declare bankruptcy. I decided to be proactive in applying for another job. I called an employment agency and asked for an appointment. The counselor that I spoke to on the phone asked me for references, so I gave him the name of one of my previous managers. The counselor was impressed.  “If T.K. recommends you, you must be good!” he declared. “Come in tomorrow afternoon to fill out our application. Be sure to wear a suit.”
                As an accountant with more than three decades of work experience, I had never been required to wear a suit on the job; but the managers that I knew who interviewed accountants for jobs preferred that interviewees wear suits. I was hip to that; even grateful.  Finally I would be wearing my flowered suit to some place other than church.
                The next afternoon, I drove to the employment agency.  The receptionist took me to a room at the back of the office and gave me the paperwork to complete. I was on the third page when the counselor that I had spoken with earlier walked in.
 “Oh, my God!”  the counselor blurted, just before his face turned a deep shade of red.
I was startled. What had I done to make this man recoil so?
He quickly back-tracked.  “I’m sorry,” he apologized. “You’re not quite what I expected.”
“I’m not quite finished with the application,” I told him.  “I have two pages to go.”
“No worries,” he said. “I don’t need the full application. After all, you were recommended by T.K.”
He took my papers from me. “No need for an interview. I will call you if something comes up. In the meantime, don’t stop looking on your own.”
Two months passed, and while I had managed to secure some interviews on my own, I never received even one call from the counselor who had shooed me out of his office so quickly.  Then, one afternoon, I got a phone call from T.K.
“Found a job yet?” he asked.
“No. Not even close,” I confessed.
“Then maybe this is my lucky day. I’d like you to come to work for my CPA firm. Are you interested?”
Was I interested? T.K. was the best manager I ever had! I gave my two weeks’ notice to my employer and reported to my new place workplace the following Monday.
I was happy in my new position, but my experience at the employment agency haunted me. At first I was confused. Then confusion turned to resentment, and resentment turned to anger. Since T.K. knew the counselor, I told him what had happened between the counselor and me.
“That’s odd,” T.K. commented.  “I wonder what got into him.”
“I know exactly what got into him,” I boldly claimed. “He took one look at my silver hair and decided I was too old for his clients. He does not want to represent old people.
“I really don’t think he is that kind of guy,” T.K. asserted.  “I have always considered him to be a prince among my business colleagues. There has to be more to it than gray hair.”
T.K. could think what he wanted. I knew better.
A few weeks later, I was having lunch at Wendy’s when a shadow hovered over my table and asked, “Do you mind if I share your table?”
I tuned in my chair and recognized the employment counselor who had hurried me out of his office months earlier. “Of course.  Have a seat,” I reluctantly assented.
He and I chit-chatted for a few minutes, and a lengthy period of silence followed. Finally he cleared his throat and said, “T.K and I saw each other a few weeks ago. He told me that you were upset at my reaction towards you when you came to my office to be interviewed.  I have been feeling pretty embarrassed about that myself, but do you really think that I cut your interview short because of you gray hair?”
“Of course it was because of my silver hair. What other reason could there have been for you rudeness?” I answered.
He stammered, his face turning a deep scarlet. “I suppose that I am not doing you any favors by not telling you the truth. My rudeness, and I deeply apologize for that, was not sparked by your hair. It was that suit! The colors were so loud and obnoxious they startled me. I completely lost my composure. Obviously you have never been taught how to select proper business attire.”
“I resent that remark,” I countered. “I am the consummate professional in all areas of my work, dress included.”
“Do you think what you're wearing now is professional?” he asked.
I was wearing a knit dress with horizontal red, white, green, and orange stripes from top to bottom. I had thought it was professional that morning. Now I conceded that I could be wrong. The counselor and I shook hands and parted ways.
“I know you are a good accountant,” he said as he left the table. “T.K. recommends only the best. I know he is thrilled that you came to work for him.”
That afternoon, I asked T.K how he felt about the way I dressed.
“Linda,” he said, “I am interested only in the quality of the work that you do. Wear what you want. Besides, you're in your office with the door closed all day. Who’s going to see you?”
I am now retired from accounting and am telling stories full-time. I have found that children love loud colors, and not just on Easter eggs. I dress more subtly for grown-up audiences, though. Black dresses are just the thing to highlight my silver hair.

 

Thursday, May 19, 2016

On Graduation

I wrote this poem a few weeks before I graduated from high school in June, 1970. Today I am posting it in honor of my Nephews Allen Lowery and Shaun Rice, who will graduate from high school in just 2 weeks; and to my niece, Matilyn Stocks, who graduated from Old Dominion University last week.
On Graduation

©Linda Goodman, June 1970

They said, “There’s a cold, cruel world outside.
Please listen to us and try to abide by our rules. Stay Inside.”          

So we did.
And some met failure, and some knew success,
And some didn’t bother; they couldn’t care less.

And now the time’s come. We’ll be sheltered no more.
We’ll run to be free.
We’ll unbar all the doors.
And we’ll take our ideals,
And we’ll take our false gods
And try to work miracles where others have trod.

And we’ll say we want peace, yet we’ll follow the road
Where God is the plotter and Man is the mold.

And when we’ve worked hard and achieved to our best,  
And our souls have grown weary and ready for rest,    
Then we’ll remember these fast flying years   
With laughter and wonder and warmth and tears.





Sunday, April 24, 2016

The Dim Smoky Past


After I left the state of Virginia to move to Michigan in 1983, I missed my father’s stories.  Knowing that they had never been documented, I asked him to include one of them in each of his weekly letters to me.  Every week thereafter, each of his letters ended with what he called a Scene from the Dim, Smoky Past.   When I asked him to explain this title, he replied that the passage of time had cast a hazy film across his memory.  He could not be sure that things happened exactly as he remembered them.  His interpretation of events, he explained, was much more clear to him than the events themselves.  I find this to be true of my own life experiences, as well.  
 
To illustrate my point, I am publishing on this blog two versions of the same incident. The first is my memory. The second is my daughter's. Notice how different the versions are; yet each of us swears that that her own version is the truth, even though that is not possible.
 
Here is my version:

Orphan Girl
©Linda Goodman, January 2015
                In 1972, after a ridiculously easy three hours of labor, I gave birth to a baby girl. After the anesthesia had worn off, a nurse brought her to me and I got my first good look at her. I gasped and cried, “THIS IS NOT MY BABY!”
                “Of course it’s your baby,” insisted the nurse.
                “But she has red hair!” I protested. “No one in either my or my husband’s family has red hair!”
                “Well,” said the nurse, “that can’t be true. Red hair is a recessive gene. Red hair has to be in both the mother’s and the father’s families for a redheaded baby to be born.”
                After asking family members a lot of questions, I learned that my mother’s twin brother had red hair before he went gray. I also learned that several of my husband’s aunts had red hair.
                So in addition to a new baby, I also got a new story that I could use to entertain friends and family. Every time that someone asked me where my daughter Melanie’s red hair came from, I told that person the story of the day she was born, and how I had insisted that she could not possibly be my baby.
                When Melanie was eight years old and in the second grade, I went to an open house at her school. Each student in the school had been instructed to make from construction paper an art piece that would tell people something the student. I walked around the room and looked at the different projects. Roller derbies were quite popular at the time, so many of the students had made construction paper skating rinks and named the rinks after themselves.  Two students built churches. Another built a Tastee Freeze ice cream stand. Melanie had constructed a large paper house  and had written across the front  The Melanie Adams Orphanage.
                I was curious. “Why did you decide to build an orphanage?” I asked Melanie.
                “Because I’m an orphan,” she replied.
                Curiosity turned into confusion. “Why do you think you are an orphan, Melanie?”
                “Because you said so,” she sweetly told me. Then, with an innocence that only a child can muster, she added, “I am glad they gave me to you. I hope they don’t take me back some day.”
                I could not believe what I was hearing. “When did I tell you that you were an orphan?”
                “Oh, you didn’t tell me,” she said. “But I heard you tell Mrs. Michaels.  And Mr. Hamby.  And that old woman who asked you where I got my red hair.”
                I had never even realized that she was listening. Melanie had thought she was an orphan for eight years, and I never even suspected that.
                Of course, I set her straight. She seemed rather disappointed when I told her I was only telling a funny story to all those people; that she really was my child by birth.  “I guess I won’t be as interesting now,” she sighed,” and some poor parents out there are going to be so sad when they find out that I am not their child.”
                That’s my girl!

 
And this is Melanie's version of the same story:

Little Orphan Melanie
(c)Melanie Goodman Deal, January 2016
There I was, five years old, sitting on the floor in my living room. I was playing quietly by myself, coloring a picture and listening to the conversation my mom was having with a new neighbor that had moved in. As I sat there coloring, I heard the neighbor exclaim to my mom, “Your daughter, Melanie, has such BEAUTIFUL red hair! Where did she get it from?”
To which I promptly replied, “It must be from my REAL mom. I’m an orphan, you see, and this kind woman adopted me so I could have a family.”
My mom immediately stammered out, “D-don’t be silly, Melanie! That’s not true at all!” Then, to the neighbor, she said a little more quietly, “I don’t know where she gets these crazy ideas from…let’s go in the kitchen and get some coffee and snacks.”
I turned back to my coloring, wondering why my mom said that. Why was she embarrassed to admit I was an orphan? It was true, after all. I heard her say so myself.
You see, all my life, I’d heard people ask my mom this same question, “Where did Melanie get her red hair from?”
And every time, my mom always replied with the same answer – “Well, I wondered the same thing myself, since I don’t have red hair and neither does her father. I swear, they must have switched babies on me in the hospital! There’s no other explanation, is there?” And then she’d laugh and move on to the next topic.
What my mom didn’t realize was that I was listening all those times she said that. And the more I heard her say it, the more I started wondering.
Who was my real mom? Did she have red hair like me? Did she suspect the baby she got at the hospital wasn’t hers? If she did, did she wonder where her REAL baby was? Was she even LOOKING for me?
I was an only child, but what if my REAL mom had other kids? Oh my Goodness, I might actually have brothers and sisters! Did they have red hair, too?
All of this wondering got me excited. So excited that I had this whole story made up in my head about what my REAL family must be like.
You see, my parents divorced when I was two. So at the age of five, it was just me and my mom. I didn’t really relate well to other kids my age, so I hung out with the adults most of the time. In fact, my doctor always joked that I was a 42-year old inside a 5-year old body. I guess you could say my thinking was more advanced than that of the average five year old.
More than anything, I wanted a family. A mom, a dad, and maybe a brother or sister – or even better, a brother AND a sister! All living in the same house. So in my imagination, my REAL mom didn’t have a job she had to go to all the time. She got to stay home and play with me and my siblings, and was able to cook homemade meals every day. And my REAL dad was home every night, because there hadn’t been a divorce. And my siblings were the coolest! We played together all the time, and I never had to play alone and make up imaginary friends, because I had THEM to play with!
After the neighbor left, my mom came into the living room where I was playing, and she got down on the floor with me. She looked at the picture I had just finished coloring and her eyes got kind of big. My picture was of a big brick building, and there were lots of kids’ faces peering out of the windows. There was a big sign on top of the building that said, “The Melanie Orphanage”.
She put her hand in mine and asked me, “Melanie, why did you draw this picture? And what on EARTH makes you think you’re an orphan? I am your real mom. Don’t you know that?”
So I told her what I’d overheard her say all these years, and as I finished, her face fell and grew very sad, and her eyes got all wet. “Oh, honey!”, she said. “That’s just a joke. I just say that to get a laugh out of people, but it’s not true. You’re mine. All mine. And I love you to the moon and back.”
My advanced five year old brain pondered her words for a few moments. I thought about all the things she did for me all the time. Telling me stories, tucking me in every night, taking me to see my cousins and my grandparents whenever I asked, buying me ice cream when she had the extra money. Telling me she loved me every day, and giving me hugs and kisses more times than I could count.
On their own, words have no power. It’s the emotional connection we attribute to them that allow them to affect us the way they do. My desire to have a “real family” was so strong that I allowed myself to believe what my mother joked about.
That day, my mom realized the impact words can have, but I realized something as well. My family may not look like other people that I knew, but I already had my real family -- the one meant for me. And that was better than anything I could make up.
 
Postcript from Linda: And there you have it. No wonder I don't enjoy telling family stories to my own family. We all remember events differently because we are each telling from our own perspectives, and each of us believe that our own version is the correct one. Try this with your own family. You will see what I mean.  Happy tales to you!
 


 
 
 
 

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Emmaus

by Linda Goodman, copyright April 20, 2016
Scripture makes it clear that one of the two people on the road to Emmaus was Cleopas. The other person  is not referred to by name or gender; only by inclusion in the pronouns “them” and “they.” For purposes of this story, Cleopas is travelling with his sister, Deborah.
                (Cleopas and Deborah arrive, both very excited, talking over one another as they try to address the group of eleven disciples and their friends.)
         Cleopas
(shaking his head)
Deborah, Deborah, we are talking over one another. Let us stop trying to best one another in the telling of this tale, lest we make no sense at all.
Deborah
(Acquiescing)
            Of course, brother. You tell the tale, and I will offer what commentary I can.
Cleopas
(to the crowd)
            My friends, come listen to what we have to tell you. It is an incredible tale! My sister Deborah and I were walking to the village of Emmaus, which is about 7 miles outside of Jerusalem. We were deep in conversation about the death of our Lord, discussing and questioning every last detail. We could not understand why God would allow Jesus to be shamed, disgraced, and murdered – with his own people complicit in the crime. Suddenly we noticed a strange man walking beside us, listening intently to everything we were saying.
Deborah
            I was upset, at first. After all, eavesdropping is disrespectful. But then I noticed how kind this  man's face was. And his eyes……his eyes held comfort, peace….even love. Our instincts told us we were in no danger.
            He asked us what we were discussing so intently and—
Cleopas
(interrupting)
            And I asked him, “Good Sir, are you the only one who does not know what has happened to Jerusalem in the past few days?”
Deborah
And he asked, “What has happened?”
So we started telling him about how Jesus the Nazarene, God’s man, a great prophet, blessed by both man and God, had been unjustly accused and arrested after being betrayed by Judas. And Judas was Jesus' own disciple, a man so trusted that he was made the group’s treasurer!
Cleopas
Who would have guessed that Judas had such evil hidden inside him.
Then we told the man walking beside us about how our high priests and leaders turned on Jesus, getting him sentenced to death by crucifixion. 
Deborah
We told the man that we had had our hopes up so high, that we thought Jesus was the Messiah come to free us from the tyranny of Rome. We told him that today is the third day after Jesus crucifixion, and some woman are making outlandish claims that they went to Jesus tomb early this morning, and it was empty! Angels, they claimed, told them that Jesus was alive. Some of our own friends went to his tomb and verified that it was empty. They did not see Jesus though. What are we to think?”
Cleopas
Then the man chuckled! Yes, you heard me right, the man chuckled! “Why are you so hard-headed?”  he laughed. “If you believed what your prophets said, you would have known these things were going to happen; that the Messiah had to suffer before entering into his glory.”
Deborah
And then this incredible stranger walking at our side began at the Books of Moses and continued on through the prophets, explaining all the scriptures that referred to the Messiah. We could feel a fire burning within us as he explained their meaning.
Cleopas
When we at last arrived at Emmaus, the stranger announced that he would be on his way, but both of us begged him to stay. He had taught us so much! We wanted to know even more. We implored him to have dinner with us. After all, the day was done.
Deborah
So he did stay, and here is what happened: He sat down at the table, broke and blessed the bread, and gave it to us. At that very moment we recognized him!
Cleopas and Deborah together
It was JESUS!
Cleopas
Jesus himself was sitting at our table, just as alive and you and me! It really happened, just as the women said. Jesus has indeed risen from the dead!
Deborah
(gasping in awe, pointing ahead)
Look! There Jesus is now, standing among you. See! Now you cannot doubt that we tell the truth! Look and see for yourselves.
(They fall to their knees and extend their arms)
Cleopas
(exuberant)
 Praise be to God and to Jesus Christ, his only son and our Messiah!
Clopas and Deborah
 (together, exultant)

Praise be to our Lord and Saviour, now and forever more. 

Thursday, February 25, 2016

The Orphan

©Linda Goodman, 1982

He gazed into my face and saw a tear well in my eye.
“Life is to be lived,” he said, “so tell my why you cry.
The earth still turns, the grass still grows, the years go sailing by.
Live life while you’re still young, my friend, for soon enough, we die.”

“Can you not see, O Learned Sage?” I cried indignantly.
“There is hunger on the mountain and pollution in the sea.
How can I laugh and dance and sing? How can I live with glee,
When all about me everywhere life reeks with misery?"

“O, foolish child, do you not see these tears you cry in vain         
Cannot feed the hungry, soothe the poor, or ease the rich one’s pain?
These things are with us always; ever since the dawn of man.
Accept those ills you cannot change, and change what ills you can.”

I watched him walk away from me. His hobbled gate was slow.
He touched an orphan on the cheek. I saw the child’s face glow.
The child then laughed and danced and sang; I bade him tell me why.
“I am alive he said to me. Oh, what a joy have I!”

I could not understand the depth of this philosophy,
So I took the youngster by the hand and brought him home with me.
And now he shares my lonely life and joyfully I find
My demons chained in dungeons and myself with peace of mind.

The woe begotten of mankind have been, will always be.
I’ve made my mark. I’ve done my part.

My heart, at last, is free.

Wednesday, January 6, 2016

Coal Mining in Wise County, VA in the Early 1900s

What a wonderful gift it was to receive from Scott Jessee this letter from my father, Theodore Alexander Wright!

This is a letter written by Theodore Wright in August,1985. It tells in very graphic detail what the coal mines in Virginia City were like in the early days of mining. I have copied it just as he wrote it. Theodore was the son of Charles Q.and Melva L. Buchanan Wright. Thanks to his nephew Carroll for sharing it with us. 


Dear Bill, Let me tell you about the old Virginia City coal mine. I was born there March 30 , 1905. My sister sent me a clipping from the paper where you requested some information on mining in the old days. At the time the life of the coal miner was hard and you were always in danger. This mine was one if not the first to work in Wise County. The N&W railroad was here a while before it got to Norton.

When I first remember the coal miners were working for 15 cents an hour. They worked 10 hours per day. The system of mine work used then was crude compared to work today. They used a little steam coal burning locomotive (dinky) to pull the mine cars on the main line. It went about half a mile inside the mine to the parting side track. Mules gathered the coal and pulled it to this point.

The miners often went to work several hours early in order to have coal shot down for the shift that day. That gave time for the powder smoke to clear up early. No coal cutting machines were used. The miner would take his coal auger which was about 6 feet long and bore several holes shooting one at a time . Next he would take his tamping bar with a brass head to guard against sparks and what was called a needle. This was a long slender rod smaller where it entered the powder charge and a looped handhold on the other end. Next using a long piece of round wood such as a broom handle he would shape a rolled paper holder for the black powder cartridge. The needle was then pushed in to this cartridge and using the tamping bar it was pushed to the back of the hole. Now using dirt and slack coal he would tamp the hole up solid. Now carefully twist and remove the needle and use for a fuse this little device known as a squib. This consisted of a small tightly rolled section of powder about 1/4 the size of a cigarette. This contained a loose section of slow burning paper. The squib was placed in the needle hole and lit with a match. After it burned to the powder and ignited it the squib took off back through the hole like a miniature rocket and exploded the powder charge. This would shake up the and loosen a certain amount of coal. This was to be loaded in the mine car which held about 2 and 1/2 tons.

In taking the history of the old days of coal mining lets not forget the company stores, I see where one historian checked the entire coal fields of W. Va. and only one could be found. We have heard the saying I owe my soul to the company store. Maybe some of them did put a little to much pressure on their customers but these stores were a great help to the miners at that time. Some mining villages were located far up the hollers and they carried everything any one needed for plain living. You could buy furniture stoves and most household hardware. If people went to a private store they were often miles away and there was only two ways of moving loads horse and wagon or rail freight.

Things remained pretty much like this until the invasion of the Ford T models then things slowly started to change.

We didn’t have to many things for recreation. We played sand lot baseball pitched horse shoes and the greatest game for the children was marbles. The men did quite a lot of hunting small game. most of Wise County at that time was covered with hardwood forests and squirrels were plentiful. Also rabbits, ruffed grouse and quail. Most of the miners lived on a patch of land and raised a good part of their food. This was a great help for most of them had large families.

A short time before World War 1 VIC & C Co. (Toms Creek) bought the place and the eight hour day went into effect and wages started to rise until they were much better than in the early years.

People who traveled very far from home caught the train for that was all there was. The N&W Ry ran four passenger trains each day between Norton and Bluefield, two each way. Four miles away in St. Paul the CC&O ran four more trains 2 north and 2 south. This line also ran a 1 car train to Dante in the late afternoon which was known as “the Short Dog”.

After WWI things changed rapidly and it wasn’t long until they started a bus line in the beautiful hills of Wise County. Things were never the same again. The City Mine got a couple of battery locomotives ( motors) and one 10 ton trolley motor that replaced the dinky pulling coal out of the mine. The dinky still pulled the coal from the side track near the drift mouth to the tipple half a mile away.

Most old time people refused to work under ground in the mine . They said they didn’t want to go under ground before their time. At the start of this coal mine they bought some miners down from Pennsylvania who were experienced miners. The younger mountain men took to the mines like ducks to water. Their fathers would cut timbers or do the tipple work. They working what was called the Jaw Bone seam which had the name of being rather low grade coal. The work got pretty slack at times often down to two or three days per week. They had installed their own steam power house there at the mine. They would blow the whistle starting at 5 and on the hour until 8 A M . The name of this seam was later changed to Shannon seam in hoping to give it a better name.

The Depression came early to the “City” and the mine shut down in 1921. Except for a short period in the 1926 when a coal strike was on at the union mine the NO. 2 mine worked for a short time and shut down again. The mine didn’t work again until well after WW II.

Now Virginia City is no more. The strip miners came in and the steel of the bull dozers swept it away.

Signed: Theodore Wright Portsmouth, Va.

Bill if you can use this in the history of old time mining in Virginia you have my permission to change it in any way you like. This is due to the fact that my education like most old time miners is very limited.

(P S ) I Didn’t mention that the whistle at the power house didn’t blow on the days there was no work. When you heard the whistle you got up and went to work.
Theodore Alexander Wright and his daughter Evelyn