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By Ashley Thomas
There are many small towns in the area around the New River Gorge Bridge, many of which were once coal towns. Once upon a time, these towns were bustling with activity and excitement. Although things have quieted down today, many folks still live there and remember the “good ‘ol days”.
Some of my fondest memories as a child involved the goings on in the unincorporated area called Edmond, WV. I say “area” because other than the Post Office, there really isn’t much else there. It was a small community inhabited mostly by folks that used to work in the mines in the Gorge. As a young adventurous boy, I found Edmond to be a place of great fun and looking back, maybe a life lesson or two was learned there.
My great grandparents, Percy and Elizabeth Morrison, lived at what I would consider the epicenter of Edmond, being that the Post Office actually sat on their land. We would make the trip to go visit them on most every holiday and just about any other time something was going on. Or, when I would beg and plead enough.
One of the reasons I found Edmond fun was that Grandpa Morrison had about 18 acres and there was always something happening there. Grandpa planted two gardens every spring, even up into his late 70′s. One was across from the house and one was behind it. I guess he had certain vegetables he didn’t like cavorting together. Plus, he plowed a field of corn, mostly for fun I think.
The fun there for a young boy never stopped. I loved catching salamanders in the root cellar and out of the little creek that flowed on the property. This was mostly for fishing in the pond across from the house, although salamanders are just fun to play with too. There was even the occasional shooting rats off the axle of the trash trailer, strictly as a way of keeping our marksman skills sharp. I could run around and get as dirty as I wanted in Edmond and that was okay.
Grandma used to cook dinner for the family at least one Sunday a month until I was probably 10 years old. Family gatherings there could get really hectic if everybody showed up. There were 9 children, 20 grandchildren, and 21 great grandchildren in the family, so it could be a real shindig if everybody visited at once. It was cool to see cousins that you only knew from those rare occasions when everybody got together.
I can still see my Great Grandpa napping in his recliner chair on a Sunday afternoon. He would have golf on the TV and he had a small transistor radio that sat on the table beside him. He’d have an earpiece in one ear listening to the Cincinnati Reds. I’m sure he was dreaming of being at deer camp, his favorite spot outside of Edmond.
I have always felt lucky that I got to know my great grandparents that way and will forever remember the times I spent with them in Edmond. Every time I drive by the town now, I take a moment to remember how much my time on that little farm is still with me to this day.
Did you grow up around the New River Gorge and the Bridge? Share your memories below in the comments.