I was born in Bluefield, West Virginia in 1952. That makes me an Old WMA but I don't feel like it. I still like women and having a drink with good friends. I don't take any prescription medicine and can do a 3 minute plank. I have also survived at least 3 near death experiences.

 

But enough of that for now let's look at my Hillbilly roots.

 

Bluefield is a small southern West Virginia town on the edge of the coal fields. My father was born there and my mom was born nearby in Princeton. My mom grew up the youngest of 7 children and my father was the oldest of 4, one a sister, died very young. They came from very different backgrounds with my mom's father being a railroad engineer driving coal out of the mines and my dad's father working in a very up and down retail clothing market. The railroad guaranteed a solid very secure income plus my mom's mother inherited a nice farm (my favorite place growing up). My dad had to work early and worked his way into going to a small college nearby. Coming out of the depression was hard on my father's family which made him the frugal but hard working man he became. Those years did not have the same effect on my mom. But all was not biscuits and red-eye gravy for my mom either. My grandfather was diagnosed with a heart condition when my mom was nine. This forced him into early retirement and on his doctors advise the family would spend winters in Florida and summers on the farm in West Virginia. I would have loved it but this meant that my mother would have to change schools and leave friends twice a year. Because she was much younger than her siblings, and they were pursuing other things, she didn't have them around either. Almost all of them went to college and got a degree. My grandmother, who we called Pugmom, had trouble handling my mom whose nickname was Pug. She was a handfull, so her only steady influence and companion that she could talk to and count on at that time was her father. He had a very strong influence on her that would make the strong woman who raised 4 boys who in some cases were more than a handful. When my mom was 14 my grandfather died of a heart attack. This resulted in going back to the farm year round where her sisters tended to be more involved in raising her than before. They tended to spoil her, and her mom's strict, Victorian views didn't exactly help her very creative mind to grow in the best direction. I think she became something of a rebel with restraints.

 

World War II had a big effect on both my parents lives. My mom had married a man who was from a wealthy local family and my older brother was a result of that marriage. That did not work out and my mom divorced him. She worked as a teacher during the war and lost one of her brothers during that time. He was in the Navy and was lost at sea. Bob (my younger brother was named after him) was her favorite brother and that had an effect on her. He left behind a wife and daughter, Pam, who came to live with us as a teenager during the "being raised as a Redneck" time of my life. My father enlisted to go fight the Germans and wanted to be in the infrantry. Because of testing by the Army and his level of education the recruiter wanted him to go to Officer Candidate School but he continued to insist that he wanted to be a soldier in the infrantry. That didn't work out so well for him since his vision was not very good so his assignment for all of the duration of WW2 was on a troop transport ship managing supplies and procurement. He crosed the Atlantic over 40 times made port calls in New York City, Boston, North Africa (Oran, Freetown), South Africa (Cape Town), France, Scotland the British Isles. and his ship, the USAT George W. Goethals, was involved in the invasion at Normandy. The Goethals was credited with being the first troop transport to arrive at Omaha Beach. Several times my father's ship was assigned to English convoys. He didn't think too much about the way the British did things as I learned from the following excerpt from one of his letters to his mother, "On the way to South Africa we stopped at Freetown, which is almost on the Equator, for fuel. After that we started out again, but just below there the British Commodore started running the convoy in circles, and we ran around in circles for five days so the darned fool could pick up a couple of freighters to go with us. How anybody could be as dumb as the English and still live is beyond me. They do everything backwards and take two weeks to make up their mind then".

People I Admire in No Particular Order

Jesus Christ

Ronald Reagan

Dr. Martin Luther King

George Washington

Abraham Lincoln

Condoleezza Rice

Dr. Ben Carson

Hellen Keller

Donald Trump

Amelia Earhart

Dr. George Washington Carver

Dr. Albert Einstein

Norman Rockwell

James A. Michener

Nelson Mandela

Billy Graham

Why I am Doing this

Your race, sex and birthplace does not define a person.

Too many people believe they do.

It does contribute to who you are but it is often used as an excuse for not being who you can be.




"All people are born into unique circumstances.
Some into an existence where they are given it all.
Some so terrible that even their chance of survival
Is something that most in America can't conceive.
The struggle of many who still manage to succeed
Eliminates the excuses that we often use for failure.
Should make us be responsible of the gifts from God
And inspire us to make a difference, is what I beleive."
Mike Garber

"I believe in God and in Christ who came here to us to show us what Love IS."