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Lazer feature  ...by Michael Coburn

Fun for kids!

In the early days, 40’s/50’s, kids were entertained by doing chores and maybe enjoying some quite time in the evenings just before dark when they could play together. “Ready or not, here I come,” echoed through the neighborhoods and hills round about. Whether catching June bugs and tying on strings, putting lightning bugs in a jar, playing hide and seek, or dodge ball, kids found ways to have fun. Running at dusk in backyards was hazardous because of clotheslines and other hidden obstructions, but it rarely slowed us down. Playing basketball, throwing baseballs or footballs, and even horse-shoes when on as late as mom would allow. Kids only quit when they could see no more or when someone got hurt.

At the top of the dream list of summer pastimes for many kids was going swimming. Of course this was a middle of the day kind of thing so usually meant it had to be planned. In an earlier article I talked about a family trip to Fallsburg and a senior skip day trip over those falls. Most would agree that a pool would be safer and lend itself better for family fun. Creek and river swimming had its drawbacks because of currents, drop-offs, snags, snakes, polio, the many outhouses and cow-pastures upstream, and general access issues. In those days we didn't have any above-ground backyard pools that I know of, and only homes in Hollywood really had in-ground pools. Some of the colleges and larger cities had them, I guess, but Louisa wasn't really close to any of those, either.

So going back to those early days when Louisa didn't have its own pool we were mostly left to do our swimming at Fallsburg, Carter’s Bridge or some other swimming hole that was discovered. But wait. . . there was another choice!

Dreamland ( Herald Dispatch photo)Dreamland ( Herald Dispatch photo)Dreamland, a huge community pool, was located near Ceredo- Kenova, W.V., just across the Big Sandy near Catlettsburg. This wasn't close, but was the best solution to the hot summer sun. It is one of the largest pools I've ever seen even to this day. The pool, locker rooms, vending machines and picnicking areas were indeed a ‘dream’ for a kid. The pool had two large round islands with one in the shallow end and another in the deep end. It was a measure of one’s ‘growing up’ to be able to reach the one in the deep end. I believe that the depth on the shallow side of this island was about six feet deep. On the other side it had to be eight feet. For a non-swimmer like me, it was a little difficult to reach. Finally, after growing to a height of 6’2,” I was able to get close enough that I could push off and coast to the island. Getting back was way easier. All I had to do was dive toward the shallow end and coast. I would come to a stop well within tolerable depths to allow me to stand.

Keeping the pool clean must have been a job because with that many people and that many kids it was very likely that some didn't go to the restroom like the many signs demanded. Large chlorine tanks were undoubtedly needed and were on hand just above the grassy picnic area. The water constantly flowed into and out of the pool through filters in the bottom and sides. You could stand in front of the jets and fill the flow. The suction vents were protected at the top of the water level in recessed gutters along the pool sides.

I’ve included a photo of Dreamland, one of two places I’ll talk about today, which we visited for extra special fun. The picture was taken off the web from Huntington News.net. For me, a trip to Dreamland came no more than once or twice a year during my grade school and high-school career. I would like to have gone more often, but because it was a really long trip from Louisa in those days, and because we didn’t have a family car, it was a very rare but appreciated event.

Camden Park's 'big dipper'Camden Park's 'big dipper'Just down the road a little further toward Huntington was another fun attraction. Camden Park was the closest amusement park to Louisa and the only one I ever saw during my growing up years. The big wooden roller-coaster was scary for me at first, but once I had ridden it, I wanted to ride over and over. There were many rides and concessions, but all I remember now was the wind in my face and the sudden drops along the tracks.

I went to Camden Park once with a scout troop and at other times with church groups, but never with my family. I couldn't drag them past Dreamland. Recently our church entertained a group of kids who were from Appalachian Bible College in West Virginia, near Beckley. I discovered in conversation that one of the students was from Charleston. I asked if they’d ever been to Camden Park and they lit right up. She was excited that I’d brought it up. You could see the memories through her expressions. “Yes, I've been there a number of times! Have you been there?” I responded, “Yes, of course. It was a really fun place.” Several of the other students came up and joined us and a few others had been there, too. A young man told me that he’d always chickened out on riding the coaster, but he’d ridden all the other rides. Another young man had been to Dreamland, too.

Today, I live less than thirty minutes from Williamsburg Busch Gardens and have been to several parks, including my favorite, Dollywood in Tennessee, and to others in Florida including Disney World, MGM, Sea World, the Tampa Busch Gardens, and more. They are all great family spots, but Camden Park measures up in my memories as just as important. We were lucky to have such places as Camden Park and Dreamland, so close.

Hopefully, I will be in Louisa on the 10th and 11th trying to see as many folks as possible. My wife and I would love to see you, so perhaps we’ll run into you here or there. Oh, and before I sign off, thanks to the folks that fill in the blanks or remind me of oversights. I left town so long ago that it is hard to have all the facts just right, or to know about things that happened later. One thing I can say is that it’s been fun for me to go back and pull out of the darkness all of those old friends lurking in the shadows of memories. When another name or place crops up I become flooded with more happy recollections and other people that I treasured so much. I remember the old song, “Precious Memories,” and as it plays in my mind, another ‘far away’ look takes residence, again.

The author is a member of the LHS Class of 1960. He is writing and compiling stories about life’s experiences in growing up in Louisa during the late forties, fifties and early sixties. He would look forward to hearing a few tales, worthy of inclusion in a potential forthcoming book. Excerpts may be published in future editions of the ‘Lazer.’ His email is: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. He’d love to hear from you.

 

Lazer Feature...by U.C. "Liss" Jones


I got the below from a friend the other day and it got me to thinking…how nice it is to live in a part of the country where some of the traditions/practice of days gone by are still with us. I added some of my thoughts...and there are others…as you read it…let your mind wonder back to a time, think of our accomplishments and be proud that……

This is My South*

My South is full of honest, hardworking people.

My South is the birthplace of blues and jazz, and rock n' roll. It has banjo pickers and fiddle players, but it also has BB King, Muddy Waters, the Allman Brothers, Emmylou Harris and Elvis - and Leontyn Price.

In my South the Flag is still respected and if you want a fight…try desecrating it.

In my South Memorial Day is revered and not JUST another holiday…

In my South folks are greeted with a smile and a “Howdy and how ‘r you doing.”

My South is hot.

My South smells of newly mowed grass.

My South was kick the can, creek swimming, cane-pole fishing, and bird hunting.

In my South, football is king, and the Southeastern Conference is the kingdom.

In my South, plain ENGLISH is the official language.

In my South a true Southerner never uses foul language in the presence of ladies.

My South is home to the most beautiful women on the planet.

In my South men still open doors for ladies.

In my South, soul food, and country cooking is the same thing.

My South is full of fig preserves, cornbread, butter beans, pinto bens, fried chicken, grits and catfish and hush puppies.

In my South we eat foie gras, caviar and truffles.

In my South, our transistor radios introduced us to the Beatles and the Rolling Stones at the same time they were introduced to the rest of the country.

In my South, grandmothers cook a big lunch every Sunday, so big that we call it dinner (supper comes later).

In my South, family matters, deeply and elders are treated with respect.

My South is boiled shrimp, blackberry cobbler, homemade peach ice cream, banana pudding and oatmeal cream pies, RC Colas and Moon Pies.

In my South people put peanuts in bottles of Coca-Cola and hot sauce on almost everything.

In my South the tea is iced and almost as sweet as the women.

My South has air-conditioning.

My South is camellias, azaleas, wisteria, and hydrangeas.

In my South, the only person that has to sit on the back of the bus is the last person that got on the bus.

In my South men and teenagers still offer their bus seats to the ladies

In my South, people still say ‘Yes, ma'am,’ ‘No ma'am,’ ‘Yes Sir,’ ‘No Sir,’ ‘Please’ and ‘Thank you.’

In my South, we all wear shoes...most of the time.

My South is the freedom to take a long walk though the woods un-molested.

My South is spending the day on the creek bank fishing or the night in the woods with your favorite coon dog hunting.

In my South we pity those who calls us Rednecks ‘cause they don’t know the real meaning of Redneck.

In my South…that sweet young lady, with the long blond hair, sitting in the swing can probably out shoot, or whip any man.

My South is the best-kept secret in the country.

Please continue to keep the secret...it keeps the idiots away.

* By Robert St. John, executive chef and owner of the Purple Parrot Cafe, Crescent City Grill and Mahogany Bar of Hattiesburg , MS., with additions by me.


Lazer Feature...by U.C. "Liss" Jones

 

I got the below from a friend the other day and it got me to thinking…how nice it is to live in a part of the country where some of the traditions/practice of days gone by are still with us. I added some of my thoughts...and there are others…as you read it…let your mind wonder back to a time, think of our accomplishments and be proud that……

This is My South*

My South is full of honest, hardworking people.

My South is the birthplace of blues and jazz, and rock n' roll. It has banjo pickers and fiddle players, but it also has BB King, Muddy Waters, the Allman Brothers, Emmylou Harris and Elvis - and Leontyn Price.

In my South the Flag is still respected and if you want a fight…try desecrating it.

In my South Memorial Day is revered and not JUST another holiday…

In my South folks are greeted with a smile and a “Howdy and how ‘r you doing.”

My South is hot.

My South smells of newly mowed grass.

My South was kick the can, creek swimming, cane-pole fishing, and bird hunting.

In my South, football is king, and the Southeastern Conference is the kingdom.

In my South, plain ENGLISH is the official language.

In my South a true Southerner never uses foul language in the presence of ladies.

My South is home to the most beautiful women on the planet.

In my South men still open doors for ladies.

In my South, soul food, and country cooking is the same thing.

My South is full of fig preserves, cornbread, butter beans, pinto bens, fried chicken, grits and catfish and hush puppies.

In my South we eat foie gras, caviar and truffles.

In my South, our transistor radios introduced us to the Beatles and the Rolling Stones at the same time they were introduced to the rest of the country.

In my South, grandmothers cook a big lunch every Sunday, so big that we call it dinner (supper comes later).

In my South, family matters, deeply and elders are treated with respect.

My South is boiled shrimp, blackberry cobbler, homemade peach ice cream, banana pudding and oatmeal cream pies, RC Colas and Moon Pies.

In my South people put peanuts in bottles of Coca-Cola and hot sauce on almost everything.

In my South the tea is iced and almost as sweet as the women.

My South has air-conditioning.

My South is camellias, azaleas, wisteria, and hydrangeas.

In my South, the only person that has to sit on the back of the bus is the last person that got on the bus.

In my South men and teenagers still offer their bus seats to the ladies

In my South, people still say ‘Yes, ma'am,’ ‘No ma'am,’ ‘Yes Sir,’ ‘No Sir,’ ‘Please’ and ‘Thank you.’

In my South, we all wear shoes...most of the time.

My South is the freedom to take a long walk though the woods un-molested.

My South is spending the day on the creek bank fishing or the night in the woods with your favorite coon dog hunting.

In my South we pity those who calls us Rednecks ‘cause they don’t know the real meaning of Redneck.

In my South…that sweet young lady, with the long blond hair, sitting in the swing can probably out shoot, or whip any man.

My South is the best-kept secret in the country.

Please continue to keep the secret...it keeps the idiots away.

* By Robert St. John, executive chef and owner of the Purple Parrot Cafe, Crescent City Grill and Mahogany Bar of Hattiesburg , MS., with additions by me.

 

SOMEMRSEP