My Recollection of Ward – By Sally Drake (2)

by Jun 11, 2009Memories of Residents6 comments

{This is the 2nd of multiple installments – reprinting this story exactly as it appears in the 2001 Ward Community Reunion Book…}

Click here to see the beginning of this story

My childhood at Ward was probably better than most of the other children there. I was not really aware of that then because I was a very happy and healthy child never realizing other children might not have been that fortunate, but the ones I knew seemed happy enough.

Once, some of the towns’ men came around with a pony to let the children ride.  I got on and wouldn’t get off that pony.  My mother said she was never so embarrassed in her life.  I rode that pony everywhere.

In talking with Jack Young, formerly of Ward, now at the age of 83, living in Malden, WV, I learned many things I never knew, even about my own family.  Jack said my father, Lambert Drake, hired him in 1937, when Jack was 20 years old.  He said my father was a construction foreman and hired many men who needed work those desperate years.  According to Jack, my father, a very skilled, but not educated man, kept Ward Mines going and was a specialist in his work for there was nothing he couldn’t do.  Jack mentioned he helped my father put in the “first rubber conveyer belt in the state of WV.  He also put the last roof on the church where I sang my first solo at the age of five.  As you can see I have great sentiment for the place I cam from and this is just a tiny bit of information that I am writing here.  There is so much more.

I asked Jack to tape or write about his memories of Ward and he has already made several tapes.  His recall is unbelievable and there just aren’t that may of the old timers left to tell their stories.

For many years my memories of Ward have been very poignant and bittersweet.  I never really knew what was drawing me back there until I made several phone calls and talked to people who knew Ward as I did.  Some surprisingly, knew me and my parents, and now I know why I had this urge to contact someone from Ward. Everyone I have talked with has the same feeling I do.  There is a tie that will never be severed; a connection that will never be broken even though nothing exists as it once was.  But we have our memories; and our love for Ward and its people will forever remain.  No matter what fate befalls us or how many miles and years have separated us, we will always cherish our days of Ward.  They are the fondest memories of my life and I am very sure, also those of my parents.

Since my life began there, I’ve chosen to bury my mother’s ashes with mine in the Ward Cemetery, as it seems a part of me never left Ward and I always called it my home.

Since leaving there in December of 1943 at the age of nine and a half, I have only returned twice and it hurt to see what little remained.  My mother, father and I were so happy being there and we hated leaving the friends and life we knew.

{this story continues in a future post – please be sure to check back!}

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