Saturday, August 15, 2009

A Special Day For Dad

A couple of years ago, this blog included a post on the Deuhe Reunion. For background, you can visit that post here . Dehue was a coal mining community in Logan County, WV. The last vestiges of the community disappeared in the mid 90's when the final houses and the coal tipple were demolished. Since that time, former residents of the coal camp, who are now scattered all across the U.S., have come together on the first Saturday in August for a reunion.

Since nothing exists at Dehue now, the reunion is held in a nearby Head Start Center (and former elementary school) which bears the names of Dehue and another former nearby community. I took Dad to the reunion last Saturday and it was so good to see him interacting with the elderly people who were his neighbors and playmates as a kid. Here are a few random photos of last Saturday's reunion.

The Head Start building that serves as the site of the annual reunion.

Some took time to look through old photo albums and share memories.

Dad (standing with cane) visits with former neighbors just before lunch.

A photo of my Grandfather and Grandmother (Caudle Adkins, Sr. and Victoria Pack Adkins). There were four memorial tables which bore photos of deceased residents. Sadly, the number of memorial photos grows larger each year.

Pictured here, left to right, are Basil Frye, Caudle Adkins Jr., and Earl Hager. Mr. Hager was the long time principal of the old Dehue School. Now 100 years of age, he was the oldest man at the reunion. Mr. Hager had been the educational authority figure to every one of the children who grew up in Dehue. One note of interest to me is that Mr. Hager succeded my maternal grandfather, Jerry Stidham, in the West Virginia House of Delegates in 1952, representing Logan County.

The attendance each year has been decreasing, as many of the former residents pass from the scene. Heading back to their various homes after the reunion, still basking in the blessings of the day, many silently wondered about the future. Would they be able to attend next year's reunion? Who will be there next year, and who will simply be a memory in a photo on the memorial table?

I enjoyed going with Dad to the reunion last week. What a joy it was to see his eyes light up as he shared memories with old friends. He got around a little more slowly this year, and had to use a cane, but for a few precious hours, he was that young man from Rum Creek again. At least he was in his memories...

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I enjoyed the pictures on the site. My father, Earl Hager, loved Dehue and all the people he knew there over the years. He looked forward to the reunion each year.