Bluefield Daily Telegraph, Bluefield, WV


February 12, 2010

In Four Seasons Country winter, there is no business like snow business

I am no scientist but have to agree the Lord must have a sense of humor about the weather. A couple of days back the global warming folks were preparing to meet with legislators in Washington but had to cancel because of the blizzard conditions in D.C. It just doesn’t get any better than that, does it?

There is much talk about weather affecting our local schools but that issue goes back a few years before the current snowflakes. In the heyday of the Pocahontas coalfields, almost every community had a local school. In Tazewell County, children in Boissevain walked to their own grade school just the same as the boys and girls across the hills in McDowell County’s bustling Jenkinjones. Ramsey Street School across from the Bluefield Sanitarium was always crowded with youngsters who walked to class from their homes, like their friends down at Wade School or over at Genoa Jr. High. It was the same in communities like Amonate and Bishop, where students, children of coal miners, walked to their neighborhood schools. Nobody worried about bus schedules because most homes were within sight of the buildings.

Sadly, most of those schools are only memories of a time when government generally left schools alone. Mom ruled the roost at home, and with few exceptions the child care was her responsibility with never a thought of an outside baby sitter. Heaven help the child who got in trouble at school because the punishment was going to be twice as much at home. It is amazing how much education was dispensed in those days when children learned to do math in their heads, read books and newspapers pretty well without being made to, and took their hats off when they came in from outside. Both parents made certain of that and the kitchen table always doubled as the homework center once supper was over.

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