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April 12, 2018

 

The Louisa Chapter of DAR met in the Cafe of Louisa First Baptist Church on March 27, 2018 for their regular March meeting.

Chapter Regent Sabrina May welcomed the group and thanked everyone there for their attendance.

The Hostesses for the night were Regent Sabrina May, Myrtle Walker and Rose Pfost. The Hostesses for the night were Regent Sabrina May, Myrtle Walker and Rose Pfost.

After the opening DAR Ritual everyone was treated to a baked Potato Bar with all the toppings and dessert. The Hostesses for the night were Regent Sabrina May,Myrtle Walker and Rose Pfost.

Chaplain Evelyn DeBoard gave a devotional and ended with a Chaplain Evelyn DeBoard gave a devotional and ended with a quote, "Kindness  is free give it away to everyone"Chaplain Evelyn DeBoard gave a devotional and ended with a quote, "Kindness is free give it away to everyone"quote, "Kindness is free give it away to everyone". She also did a short talk on one of the founders of DAR, Ellen Hardin Wallworth in the year 1832.

Historian and National Defense Chair Theresa Chaffin read an article on the importance of the Choctaw Code Talkers during WWI.

Patricia Hatfield, State Literacy Chairman, enlightened the group on attending the State Conference in Lexington, Ky.

The VA Hospital and the Ronald McDonald House in Huntington, West VA sent letters of appreciation to the Chapter for the contribution of clothing and

hygiene items to the hospital and pop tabs to Ronald McDonald House.

Historian and National Defense Chair Theresa ChaffinHistorian and National Defense Chair Theresa Chaffin

Plans for April and May meetings were discussed. Our annual meeting and dinner will be on May 22, 2018 at 6:00pm at the LFBC Cafe. The event will be catered by Rebel Barn and the deadline to pay for the dinner is May 10, 2018.

Our Good Citizen Scholarship award winner for this year, Jodi Perkins will be presented with a $500 scholarship which she plans to use for attending Morehead State this Fall. Ms. Perkins was chosen by a panel of non-DAR affiliated judges.

 

April 9, 2018

TWO THINGS NOT TO MISS IN APRIL

John C.C. Mayo play at the MAC and Hillbilly Days

Guest column

by John Butch Preston

Author John Butch Preston at Mayo MansionAuthor John Butch Preston at Mayo Mansion

 

April is the cruelest month, says the great Geoffrey Chaucer. But American poet Robert Frost puts it this way: Winter is only playing possum in April. Nevertheless, two upcoming area events should more than compensate us for April’s so-called wrath, as well as encourage us to better understand and appreciate who we are here in the mountains: The John C. C. Mayo play at the Mountain Arts Center on the 13th and 14th, and of course the annual Hillbilly Days in downtown Pikeville from the 19th to the 24th.

By spotlighting the specific category of people living in eastern Kentucky, Hillbilly Days has grown from a simple charitable event to the biggest yearly festival in the entire region. But just what does the concept hillbilly actually mean?

Hillbilly Elegy and J.D. VanceHillbilly Elegy and J.D. VanceOne of this year’s best-selling books, Hillbilly Elegy, by J. D. Vance seeks to define us in some way but in the end only succeeds in finding little to admire in us. We already know that poverty and hardship are things to be endured! J. D. Vance reminds me of the type of person who moves away and becomes a little condescending, whose likes are hardly welcomed back at family reunions. Those behind the scenes say his book is chiefly a means of clearing his closet of skeletons for his future political aspirations. Although I can’t agree with all his views, I will give him credit for honoring his grandparents, who were true, dyed in the wool, pistol-packing hillbillies.

But true, bona fide hillbillies are few and far between nowadays, as scarce as hen’s teeth, much like our dying-out WW II veterans.

It can be noted that just to be born here makes you an apparent or natural hillbilly, and to move here and stay allows you to eventually become a naturalized one—but a true hillbilly is a horse of a different color. These are the people who actually personify the hillbilly stereotype, the ones who plowed with a mule and killed and dressed their own hogs, activities and life experiences to now be quite proud of. To run out and use an outdoor toilet on a cold frosty morning was not a pleasant experience, but in the words of philosopher Fredric Nietzsche: what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger. Indeed, hardiness is a virtue—something difficult to come by in today’s computerized world.

But all in all, perhaps the freedom of Hillbilly Days has allowed us to go a few steps further in making the best of our nationwide image. We have now incorporated the hillbilly stereotype into American Capitalism. Kentucky and West Virginia are now exploiting the Hatfield/McCoy Feud to attract tourism, and it’s working. And now we’re installing a moonshine still in downtown Pikeville—sure to bring an ironic grin to the faces some old timers, who had to build theirs on the sly. So, the tide seems to have turned; we are at last embracing our hillbilly ways. Something true hillbillies have done all along.

It is all these old-time characteristics that Hillbilly Days purports to celebrate, in its usual and most cheerful manner. So, while watching all the costumed ersatz hillbillies you see during the Pikeville festival, you may perhaps overlook someone who knows what it’s really like to be a real one—one who knows the difference between a sourwood tree and a sassafras without even thinking.

Author John Butch Preston's bio of John C.C. Mayo Author John Butch Preston's bio of John C.C. Mayo Of course, change is inevitable. It’s not hard to imagine a true hillbilly sitting in a fast-food joint at any of the East Kentucky malls, looking out the window at all the other joints and sudden exclaiming: Look out yonder! We could be anywhere! And that same person may now have quit calling the four-lane (U. S. 23) the new road.

But let us not forget our famous hillbilly country music stars named along the four-lane, aptly called The Country Music Highway.

However, there are other mountain individuals who have also achieved international fame, and actually broken the stereotype, although in other fields, such as politics and economics. Fred M. Vinson of Louisa was a veritable genius when it came to world affairs. He organized the World Bank after WWII, thrusting him into national prominence as presidential hopeful, then went on to become Chief Justice of the Supreme Court—just a few of his many accomplishments. There is a museum dedicated to him in Louisa.

Then there was John Paul Riddle of Pikeville, an aeronautical pioneer whose airline company helped ready the U. S. and British Air Forces for WWII and is accredited with starting American Airlines. He hobnobbed with English royalty, and once flew a biplane underneath Pikeville’s old middle bridge, a daring feat indeed, with only thirty feet of airspace between the river and the bridge.

The other internationally known figure from our area is the boy who stayed home and changed the face of eastern Kentucky, John C. C. Mayo, whose name is synonymous with our most valuable asset: hard, black, crystallized carbon. You will find out just who he was and what all he did to effect and transform our entire economic culture, if you attend the play, Kentucky’s Richest Man, coming soon to the MAC in Prestonsburg.

All in all, Hillbillies are a great bunch of people; no longer should we feel maligned. We should consider ourselves lucky to be living our lives in beautiful eastern Kentucky. So let’s give April a chance to show her true colors. For to be sure and above all, to be born into these mountains, is to be born into the shelter of a Third Parent.

 

April 7, 2018

Growing up in Louisa – Bascomb Boyd!  

Weekly feature . . . by Mike Coburn

If school kids are a type of people, or are at least people in the making, it is understandable that they are likely to form life-long opinions about each other and those adults with which they had daily contact. Thinking back, I think that foremost in many people’s memories are the teachers that they studied under over their student careers. This isn’t unique to any particular generation because I remember teachers from every grade. In this article, I will focus on what I know or have been told about the time when I was in school. A truth that will universally apply is that teachers matter and tend to influence the lives of their young charges.

This article will address a teacher whose reputation is almost bigger than life. I caution readers to keep in mind that he, like everyone else, was human. I’m sure he had his failings and issues, but my intent isn’t to expose, but rather to celebrate what was apparently a job well done. No other teacher I know approaches the reputation and influence as that of Mr. Bascomb Boyd. Even today, some shutter at the memories that his name evokes. There are those who smile with warm memories of that kind, caring man, while others freeze and groan remembering the fear of earning his displeasure.

Mr. Boyd was a large fellow, over six feet tall and a bit hefty, too. I remember seeing him in the hallways wearing a three-piece suit, complete with a pocket-watch and fob attached to his vest. In my Louisa High Louisa High time he had thinning white hair, but I have seen pictures of the man with dark hair and protruding eyes. Whether the duty was assigned or assumed, he was the guardian and time-keeper at the front door to the old LHS ‘Kentucky Normal’ school building. He stood at his post just outside of his classroom to warn students ‘not to run in the hallways,’ or to ‘hurry along and not be late.’ Finally, at the correct time based upon the pocket watch, he would push the button to ring the five-minute warning bell, and then the tardy bell. At that sound all the doors on campus would shut and classes would begin. Those poor students arriving late would easily be seen when they opened the shut door to enter their classroom. I have no experience to say that someone late to Mr. Boyd’s class suffered any more than those in other classes, but I suspect that a look from this man was like the wrath of God.

Even when I was a young seventh-grader, I learned through campus scuttlebutt that he was a ‘no-nonsense’ fellow who demanded the undivided attention of all his students. At the beginning of school, some signed up for his classes believing he was the better of three mathematics teachers on the Board of Education payroll, but some unlucky kids were assigned to his class when the other classes filled. For a few, it could be perceived as a doomsday assignment. In fairness to Mr. Boyd, his subjects, algebra and geometry, were a serious challenge for people whom were still struggling with multiplication tables. As in anything, some students did well, but there were also some that had to just try to hang on to earn the necessary credits required for graduation.

Bascomb Boyd award FHABascomb Boyd award FHA

 

My classmate from the class of 1960, Betty Meade Cooke, tells me that she was scared to death of him. She discovered a key aspect of the man that I have heard over and over. Betty needed to find a way to make a good grade in that class, so she took a chance that was a risk. She had her initial problems like all of us with understanding the subject, but when she approached Mr. Boyd in study hall, he was more than pleased to help her understand the subject. He worked with her over the years to bring her performance to ‘A-level.’ As others, she found that showing interest and asking for help paid big dividends. This would be a life lesson we might all apply even now.

Mr. Boyd was really interested in students learning in his classes of algebra, geometry, and trigonometry. Many did so, even if it involved much study and suffering. Many went on to become successful in their college careers and several professions, including engineering. Students who asked for help, or who excelled, became favorites and were used as examples to others to apply themselves. Risking being called a ‘favorite’ student or a ‘teacher’s pet,’ some tried to avoid that by seeking outside help. I don’t think he liked his reputation as a tough teacher, and may have even been hurt that someone feared him. He was perhaps a ‘tender lion’ who really cared for his students.    

I know that he was held in the highest esteem by the faculty, staff, and the student-body. I don’t know if he had a sense of humor since I picture him as a serious man bent on discipline in study. I spoke with him many times, but never had his classes. I always found him to be friendly. One thing I have learned over the years is that all of us are merely people that have our weaknesses. Frankly, in those days I had no thoughts this man had any. Like several teachers of the day, Mr. Bascomb Boyd was very much in charge with a sobering presence. After a time of knowing him you found that he didn’t have to speak. A look was enough. The message meant was understood by all.

My friend Bernard Nelson tells me he lived down on Sycamore Street near Andy York’s grocery store. He was a neighbor to Harold “Squeak” Frazier, a classmate Ruth Ann Jordan, and Jesse Thompson, with her parents, teachers J. Walter and Anna ThompsonWhen Bascomb passed I’m told that he left his estate to Harold. Nelson considered him a friend when he took algebra in the ninth grade. Mr. Boyd always made himself available to help once Nelson, or any student showed interest. Mr. Boyd wrote to Nelson when the young fellow had graduated and was off in basic training. This agrees with the comments of several others, like Delbert Caudill, but is in sharp contrast with the fear and trepidation that others feel when recalling those years. Delbert once wrote me that Mr. Boyd was ‘the most hated and at the same time the most beloved teacher at school.’ It was said that he had memorized the text books and could quote theorems by page number. I guess it’s intimidating to face someone with that level of learning.

In the past when I’ve mentioned his name in this column I have received many responses, most painting him as scary, but fair, and every bit worthy of his reputation as a giant of a teacher. No one who had any of his classes has forgotten him. He continues to loom big in our memories. All I need to say is “Bascomb” or Mr. Boyd and the stories begin to flow.

Reputations aside, to many he was bigger than life. I think the fear factor was there, but I also suspect he would have been disappointed that he discouraged any of his students. I wanted them to be excited with the subject-matter and to see him as a good teacher. He accomplished that with many and is recalled as a committed educator trying to make a difference. He did make a difference in so many lives as proven by the success of his students. Maybe you were one of those.    This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.