{This is the 1st of multiple installments – reprinting this story exactly as it appears in the 2001 Ward Community Reunion Book, in Sally’s own words…}

On the night of March 6, 1934, in a howling snow storm, I was born at home in Ward, West Virginia. For seven years, we lived in the same house, by the hard road, next door to Allie Harrison.  His daughter, Sue Ann and I were best friends.  His baby son, “Pepper”, was so beautiful (usually only wearing a diaper in the summer) clinging to his bottle which was a coke bottle with a  nipple on it. (I have a picture of him like that).  My other friends were Jo Ann Dangerfield and Richard Lee Stevens who lived across the road.  Back then, we had so little and were happy just playing across the fence.  Polio was a threat to everyone, mostly the children.

Somehow we survived the epidemic and also the hard times that were too evident back then.  It seems our growing up under harsh conditions made us very strong people with know-how and good values.  I’m very sure there are many stories that will never be known of battles fought and victories won in this one small community. (My story happens to be positive and a happy view of “My recollections of Ward”.) As times were very hard, the struggle and deprivation some people had then is unimaginable today.

Sometime in 1941 we moved two houses down from the “Grill” across from the park and we loved living there.  My father planted flowers everywhere and we had chickens in a pen out back.  I made a playhouse under our back porch, but my favorite thing was sitting on our big front porch when it was raining.  I dreamed many dreams there of what my future might be.  Going to the Grill for big cones of orange sherbert, listening to the jukebox playing the “Jersey Bounce” and going to the company store were always “special treats” for me.  I recall Tex Ritter came to the Ward theater and kissed me on the cheek.  I still have the autograph book he sold.

One Halloween the school had a party and I won a big, beautiful, chocolate cake.  My mother always wondered who made that tempting delight. (I still think of those treasured memories, the little things that meant so much when I was a little girl and even more meaningful now that I am older).

Our teachers in school taught us well at Ward. They were dedicated to their jobs and I am sure their pay was very low during those times, those terrible times.  I remember “Pearl Harbor Day” vividly, although I didn’t really understand it’s meaning, I knew something terrible had happened in our world.

Hard as times were, my father somehow managed to buy a brand new bergundy “Chieftan” Pontiac.  It was rare to see a car like that in Ward and the only other car I particularly remember, nicer than ours, was a shiny, black Lincoln “Zephyr” tha someone had and used to wash it down at th e”lower bridge” in the creek.  I’ve always wondered whose it was. (I can still see all “My Recollections of Ward”. Those memories have not dimmed as my eyes have).

I have had many dreams about Ward and one dream that keeps coming back is about the path that led up the mountain, to the right of the Company Store. I never knew where it lead back then, but I have been on that path many times in my dreams.

{this story continues – click here to see the second installment}

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