Growing Up in Logan County, WV

(Part 3 in series on Dwight Kessel)

By Ralphine Major

Like many in his generation, Wallace Dwight Kessel faced hard times during his growing up years.

“During the depression, a lot of people came up with ideas on how to make money.  I remember wash board bands performing on the store porch from time to time and they would have a cup or bowl for people to throw coins in,” he shared.  “When school was out for the summer, almost without fail, someone would come to town with a pony and camera and walk through neighborhoods and take pictures of children on the pony.  If you paid for one, it would be developed and mailed back to you.  One of my friends would go around with the camera man looking after the pony and would always get his picture made free.”

Kessel recalls making visits to his Grandfather Kessel’s farm three or four hours away and to his other Grandparents’ (Sumates) farm, where his granddad was a country school teacher and principal of a three-room school; seeing movies (a big deal) on Friday night, Saturday afternoon, or Saturday night which included westerns starring Hop-along Cassidy, Randolph Scott, and others; keeping the coal buckets filled from the “coal house” in the front yard and splitting the big chunks of coal to get fossils to take to school for “show and tell;” and getting his first bicycle—a birthday present in 1936—a full-sized black Elgin that his Dad ordered from Sears and Roebuck.  Kessel remembers with clarity and detail another childhood story.

“As we got older, and the weather was good, we hiked to the top of the mountain to play in the wind caves and rocks.  We would take with us some crackers, raisins, a jar of water, and peanut butter sandwiches for snacking.  We picked huckleberries (blueberries), blackberries, and raspberries to eat and take home.  The mountains were covered with a lot of colorful wild flowers.  Among flowers I remember were azaleas, jack in the pulpits, sweet williams, trilliums, daisies, black-eyed susans, and violets.  We earned some spending money by digging sassafras roots and selling them on the store porch for a nickel a bundle.”  (To be continued)

Kessel shares Words of Faith from John 3:16 (KJV): “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.”

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