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WHS Alumni Web Page Updates

The following are copies of emails sent to the all-WHS Alumni mailing list providing information on new and updated WHS Alumni web site pages.  Previous update information can be found HERE.  If you wish to receive these email updates, please click HERE to subscribe to our mailing list.

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Donnie Skuja, WHS Alumni Web Site Administrator

I've been trying to keep the website current but have been a bit lax about keeping you all updated. Usually I do remember to post an alert on our Message Board site ( regarding changes/additions to the alumni site, so please remember to check that web page frequently.
Here are some of the major additions/changes made to the site over the past few months.
Created a page featuring The McArts 2004 McDowell County Calendar at
Posted pictures from the June 2003 Pipestem reunion of the WHS Class of 1956 at
and those taken at all-WHS alumni picnic in August 2003 at
Added informational links to some new items to our Gift Ideas ( page, including:
"The Keeper's Son" -- a new book by Homer Hickam, first released in Coalwood at October Sky Festival 10/5.  It's NOT about WV but it is a very entertaining book to read and Homer does surreptitiously manage to add some southern WV flavor to the story.  You'll recognize what I'm talking about when you read it!
"When I Get Big I'm Leavin' " -- a book written by Big Creek High School 1935 graduate, Joseph T. Diviak.    
"A Courageous Woman: Memoirs of a Tenacious Person" -- the memoirs of Ruthie E. Horton Diviak, who grew up in rural  Appalachia. 
Three books, called "The Clear Fork Series" -- written  by Jerry Hatmaker, a native of Coalwood. The series at present includes:  "The Coalwood Misfits," "The Kindred Gathering" and "Shoddy and Ox."  All are set partially or totally in McDowell County.  Jerry was kind enough to send me copies of these books but I've not had a chance to read them yet.
"Elvis in Virginia" --  a book written by Jim Eanes, WHS '54.
And, class of 1961's Frances Belhassen Gunter's books, The Golden Horseshoe I & II.
A Maroon Wave visor and a WHS Christmas ornament were recently added to the Cafepresscom web site
The 2004 Wild n Wonderful WV calendar is available for ordering online.
I haven't had time to update the links sites yet but I note that Mike Zuchick, WHS '72 (I think I have the graduation year right), is selling some absolutely beautiful woodwork  products through his web site at:
Added a link to  McDowell Mission, Inc. web site (  Of particular interest to us former WHS students is the fact that they are now located On the Hill.  You can read more about their renovations of our school buildings that were basically falling apart, and how you can get involved, at 
A truly meaningful Christmas gift for a former WHS student would be a contribution in their name to McDowell Mission, Inc.'s efforts at restoring these buildings.
I have paid for another year's membership at  Please feel free to contact me if you need help getting in touch with a former classmate listed at that web site.  As a paying member, I DON'T have access to the email addresses of former classmates listed there but I am able to send an email message to them via the website.
 I am trying to help somebody locate Willie Allen and Dorothy Christian, who are featured in O. Winston Link's famous image "Hot Shot Eastbound at the Iaeger Drive-In."   The picture was taken in 1955. You can see a copy of the picture at:  If you have information as to the current whereabouts of  either Dorothy or Willie, please get in touch with me by replying to this email.
If you missed seeing Jean Battlo's (WHS '57) most recent play, "Coal Camp Christmas Carol" in Bluefield earlier this month, be sure to get your tickets for the December 3, 6:30 p.m., performance at Raymond's in Welch.  Set in the early decades of the coal camp era in McDowell county, this is Battlo’s fifth adaptation of Charles Dickens celebrated novel.  In the play, old miserably miserly Elizabeth Anne Scrooge is the widow of old miserably miserly Harley Scrooge, owner of Scrooge and Scrooge Coal and Coal company. The play follows many of the traditional beloved episodes and hauntings of the original 19th century British classic, but its setting in southern WV and the unique characters of some of the visiting “ghosts” give the play a diversionary twist, allowing for humor and holiday fun.
In August, my sister Tammy Scott and I stopped by the Nostalgia Inn - in Pipestem, WV.  This bed and breakfast inn is owned and run by Eleanor Triplett White, WHS 56, and her husband Jim.  I realize the Pipestem facilities are simply fabulous but if you're ever in the mood for something a bit homier, I highly recommend the Nostalgia Inn.  And, located right next door is Brandon's restaurant, operated by Ellie & Jim's son, Brandon White.  We had a delicious barbecued rib dinner there seated outside on the screened-in porch.  

HAPPY HOLIDAYS to all.  I am driving from Maryland to Florida (going down the east coast and up the west coast of Florida) in mid-December and then on to Arizona in January.  I will be online now and then to check my emails, so if you think I'll be passing near where you live and you'd like to get together for a cuppa and a 30-minute WHS reunion, please get in touch with me.
One last note:  if you sent me pictures or information to post on the web site anytime since early July and are wondering what in the world I did with them, please send me a reminder.  Life's been a bit discombobulated for me for a few months but I'm doing fine now.  Thanks to all of you for your kindness and support.

Don't forget about the upcoming Hemphill/Capels Junior High School reunion and the August 16 all-WHS picnic:

The Hemphill/Capels reunion is being held August 9 at Glenwood Recreational Park in Princeton, WV.  Check or contact Monte Blevins at (or 434-589-2471) for additional information.

The all-WHS picnic is scheduled August 16 at  Ronnie Collins' (WHS '64) house in Premier.  ALL former WHS students are invited.  Read more about the picnic at: or call Ronnie at 304-436-4900 for more information.

McDowell Mission ( which has been operating from the Elbert Clubhouse in Gary, has acquired the former WHS buildings for its central operations and is making improvements to them as funds become available. The Mission's regular funds are used for its primary mission work: home repairs, crisis center and Dove Learning Center. Funding for repairs, remodeling, replacements, and clean-up of the three buildings will greatly depend upon donations.   If you can help with the repair to these buildings, please send your (tax-deductible) donation to:

McDowell Mission
225 Maple Ave.
Welch, WV 24801

Donations can be made in honor, or in memory, of a friend, classmate(s), teacher, principal or family member.
Also, if you can volunteer your time and skills in upgrading of the buildings, please call 304-436-8300 or send a FAX to 304-436-8293, or visit the mission On the Hill. You can also contact McDowell Mission by email at:

The following information, provided by former Norma Jacovitch McKinney, WHS '65, who works for McDowell Mission, Inc., gives some detailed insight to the Mission's importance to the community:

"McDowell Mission, Inc. is a faith-based organization that is now operating out of the old Welch Grade School Building (GSB) 3rd floor primarily because the old WHS office in the main building (with the auditorium) is far too damaged and in disrepair to serve as an office. The offices we use in the GSB are the ones last used as offices for the Welch Middle School. If you toured the buildings during the last few years, you saw the sad shape of they were in. I had not been there myself since early fall 2001 (and not after the flood of May, 2002) and really didn't know about the deplorable condition of the school. In the summer last year, we had housed some of our agency's visiting work teams in the GSB and that's when I first heard that "the school was in bad shape". It was in the early spring (2003) when I first toured the GSB to discover the mess that was left there and the deplorable condition of falling/loose tiles, graffiti, destruction, vandalism, etc. in some of the rooms and halls. Needless to say, I was amazed, appalled, and embarrassed. But, our (MM) director, Jay Wilson, saw beyond the flaws and mess. He sees the school buildings potential as a beacon of hope for the town/county/surrounding communities.
We have recently (in the spring) had some folks come in to assist in cleaning out garbage, sorting through refuse/school materials, rewiring, upgrading some plumbing, painting, and building bunk beds and showers (to house work teams who come to the county to do home repairs, flood cleanup, vacation bible school, etc. for people in this area). The asbestos removal and roof repairs/replacements will be extremely costly (professionals are needed) and urgent for us to do to be able to do any outreach to area youth. In the meantime, our staff and volunteers (along with some hired help) have worked to get the GSB and the gym functional for hosting visiting work teams and providing a place to play some basketball. In the fall, we hope to have a weekend hangout for teens after ball games and/or after school for physical activities, music, etc. We have a great opportunity to make a difference in the lives of local youth in this community. (We currently have our adult education and after school program on Stewart St. at the Church of God Annex Building. We hold GED preparation/Adult Basic Educational classes as well as after school tutoring programs there.) Mayor Martha Moore has been extremely helpful and supportive in our efforts, but we need much help to make this difference...If each student, teacher, or staff with a Welch High School "connection" will give some time, money, and/or labor, we CAN make this happen."

Thanks to all of you who participate in this effort to share your pictures.  Due to web space restrictions, many photos are replaced by others on an ongoing basis.   Therefore, I encourage you to check the OntheHill site frequently.  Also note that additional pictures posted elsewhere on the internet by former WHS students can be found through the web page links listed at

Before much more time goes by,  I wanted to make sure you all are aware of the upcoming all-WHS picnic.  This event is scheduled August 16, 2003, at  Ronnie Collins' (WHS '64) house in Premier.  ALL former WHS students are invited.  Read more about the picnic at:

OTHER LINKS ( is a recently established online magazine of Appalachian culture showcasing the talent of Appalachian writers and artists.  The first issue (98 pages) is now available for download in pdf format at  The download takes a few minutes but you can save the file to read on your PC or to print.  You will be able to view the magazine on regular web pages within the next few days at .

New pictures have been added including those from a few recent mini reunions and some lovely McDowell/Mercer County nature photos.

For those of you who live in the area or who may be traveling in the area, note that The Murfreesboro/Rutherford County Center for the Arts, 110 West College St., Murfreesboro, TN, will be displaying paintings by Howard Hull, WHS '50, June 4-July 26, 2003. There will be an artists' reception 6-8pm June 14. Gallery hours are Tuesday - Saturday 10am to 4pm.

Some of you who are reporting you are not receiving all of these updates may need to ensure you read your email as often as possible and delete all unwanted messages.  Many of these messages are returned to me as undeliverable because of full mailboxes.  This is particularly true for the webtv, hotmail, and yahoo email addresses, i.e., those using the email services that store your messages online.

Added photos of Lena Tench & W. Strother Tabor.  They are the parents of Fairfax Tabor, WHS '33, Toddy Tabor, WHS '35, Phyllis Tabor Money, WHS '39, and Richard Tabor, WHS '51, and the grandparents of Penny & Pam Money WHS '64, and Melody Money, WHS '71.  Strother and Lena graduated from Browns Creek District High School, the first high school in McDowell County.

Added the book,  "River of Memories: An Appalachian Boyhood," authored by David Lee Thompson who grew up in Bowen Creek, WV.

Added Alan Johnston (WHS '70), Family & Friends'  new CD, "The McDowell County Project"   (   Note:  a full-length version of the new song, "Rocket Boy," can be downloaded at:

The McDowell County Historical Society is planning a limited second printing this summer of the HERITAGE BOOK OF MCDOWELL COUNTY WV,  Vol. I, 1995.  For details contact Geneva Steele at

Deleted our Postcard Photos web pages.  There are hundreds of McDowell County pictures  posted online at the  McDowell County Photo Album  web site ( hosted by webmaster, David Grubb.   Included there are most, if not all, of the postcard photos previously  housed on our Postcard Photos web pages.

Added names to picture of the first WHS May Court (  Thanks to Phyllis Hurd, WHS '46

Monte Blevins sent in the following update for the August 9, 2003, Hemphill/Capels Jr. High Reunion:  On Friday, August 8th, people can meet at  pavilion # 8 of  Glenwood Recreational Park  from 3PM until the park closes.  If nobody is there to greet you,  call Minnie Robinson at 304-487-5012 and she will be there within a few minutes.  The picnic will be held Saturday at pavilion # 8.  This is an all-day affair.  On Sunday, August 10, a 9:00 AM service will be held at park pavilion #1.  See or contact Monte at for additional information.

A luncheon reunion is scheduled May 21, 2003, for former WHS students who now live in the Maryland area.  This event is being held at Terrace on the Green Restaurant located at the Turf Valley Country Club on Route 40 in Ellicott City, MD.  Turf Valley is easily accessible from Interstate 70.  For more information and driving directions, see  Also, feel free to contact me at 410-549-7190, Bill Parris at  410-560-1321 (email: or Dan Zaccagnini at 410-321-0485 (email: if you have any questions about this mini reunion.

Did you know that you can download WV-related desktop wallpaper at  ?

Gary Lumpkins Mullins, WHS '63,  has created a personal genealogy web page at

Richard Sizemore, the creator of the original Davy web site, has built a new web site with more pictures of Davy, Asco, Twin Branch, and Mohegan at He's still working on the links, but the front page is working.

Seventh and eighth grade students at the War Annex have completed months of study on local flooding disasters, the causes of flooding, flood mitigation efforts and the emergency response to a disaster.  With help from the Teams of Interdisciplinary Graduate Fellows Engaged to Reinvigorate Students Project at West Virginia University, the students have created a comprehensive flood-atlas project detailing flooding disasters of 1977, 2001 and 2002.  The results of their study, the McDowell County Flood Atlas, can be viewed at:

Nantahala, an online journal supported by the Appalachian College Association and featuring  fiction, non-fiction, poetry and photography by residents of Appalachia, can be reviewed at:

Thanks to my BCHS online/offline friend, Gene Honaker, a new site called Minibite's Oldies has been added.  It features WAV music files from the 50s and can be accessed at:

Ginia Burton writes: I am writing in regards to my husband's father, Fred Burton, a graduate of Welch High School in 1952. My husband was only eight years old when his father died in a drowning accident, so there is much he does not know about his dad as a young man. If anyone has memories they would be willing to share we would love to hear from you.

I hadn't meant to send out a new update so soon but wanted to alert you to a problem with our Oldies Jukebox. The internet company that stores the music files for the jukebox (as well as background music for some of our web pages) has pulled the plug on their free service.  Until I get around to making some corrections, you may get some weird error messages when accessing the affected web pages.  However, you should have no problem viewing their content. Providing "real" music (music by the original recording artists) on our web pages requires hooking up with an internet service company which will house and play the music files for FREE.  Over the past few years the number of such companies has been dwindling. The quality of service of those few remaining is poor. Therefore, the WHS Jukebox has been hoisted to the attic, put in the back room, moved to the's gone to where ever you put things that don't work anymore. If listening to oldies music while you surf the net is your thing, never fear.  We have a web page at which lists sites where you can still hear "real" music . Yep, $ talks.  These sites are created by people who are paying for the extra web space and bandwidth required to allow us to hear their copies of recorded music.Although "midi" music files don't come close to sounding as good as the "real" thing, they are much smaller and easier to use on web pages.  I'll be looking for some decent sounding ones to replace our "real" background music.

While I'm at it, might as well tell you about some recently
UPDATED/CHANGED WEB PAGES--Posted a link to which covers a golf tournament planned for 5/23/2003 to raise money for Bobby Elswick.
--Added a note to the Hemphill/Capels Reunion web page ( stressing the need to respond to Monte Blevins by 7/1/2003 if you plan to attend this event.
--Gift Ideas Page (  Added ordering information for books authored by Roger Osborne and a new book by John Billheimer, "Drybone Hollow" which is due to be released in April.
--Compliments of Phyllis Tabor Money, a WHS Class of 1939 senior picture and related reunion photos were posted at
--Created 2 new web pages to feature:  writings of WHS Class of 50's Howard Hull:  and publications by Jean Battlo, WHS '57: information on Jean Battlo's latest release, "Pictorial History of McDowell County," is provided at   Included are copies of the related press release, front & back pages of the book and a few of the book's picture pages.
--Added a new/larger version of a picture of the first WHS May Court festivities at  This picture was sent in by Phyllis Hurd.
--Updated our Other Links page ( to include a link to the Iaeger High School Web Site and to remove the link to the WHS sports page which is no longer available.
  NOTE:  We NEED a WHS sports page. A few of you have mentioned that you'd like to set up a WHS Sports Web Page.  Let's SEE it!

--Some E-Mail Rumors May Have  Link With Something True.
Many false stories are simply corrupted versions of true stories.  For example, one of the most enduring rumors of the last 20 years is that the famous American atheist, Madalyn Murray O'Hair, is trying to get religious programming banned from radio and television.  Each version of the rumor includes what is said to be the number of the petition that she has brought to the Federal Communications Commission, RM-2493.  The story is untrue and Madalyn Murray O'Hair has never made such a request to the FCC.  Case number RM-2493 does exist, however, and involved a complaint filed by two gentlemen who felt that a church should not have been granted a radio license reserved for educational use.  The FCC turned down their challenge and ruled in favor of the church, but somewhere along the way, Madalyn Murray O'Hair's name got attached and the FCC has received tens of millions of letters and phone calls.
  --Some E-Mail Rumors Are Outright LIES.
Many false stories have been intentionally written and distributed by people who enjoy fabricating something, then sending it as far and wide as possible.  For some, the motive is to cause harm to a specific person or group by spreading misinformation.  For others, there is an emotional pay-off from creating something they think may trigger some kind of reaction and mushroom into something big.
  --Some Are Just Creative Writing
There are a few E-Mail Rumors that are passed around that the writer never intended be taken seriously as a real account.  This is especially true of some of the inspirational stories.  Many fictional writings are valuable because of the point they make, not because they are true.  Some folks, however, put them on the Internet and preface them by saying, "This is a true story," or "I heard Paul Harvey say this on the radio."
--Don't always believe the "chain E-mails" circulating the web.  Before you forward them to your email buddies, please check these web sites to determine if they are true or not:

--"The Earth belongs to its owners, but the landscape belongs to those who know how to appreciate it." -- Upton Sinclair

--Howard Hull, WHS Class of '50, recently had two books published:  "Greed and Other Stories" contains stories with Appalachian settings and some about military life.  "Tennessee Post Office Murals" is a compilation of background information on that state's post office murals.
--"A Pictorial History of McDowell County" is the most recently published work of Jean Battlo, WHS Class of '57.  It features input from several "locals" including other former WHS students.  Read more about this publication in the press release at

Purchasing information for the above publications is available at

--Seventies Classes
Latest word is the next reunion for the 1968-1978 WHS classes will be held in June or July of 2005.  Check periodically for updated information about this reunion.
--Fab Fifties
The Fab Fifties ( reunion committee is seeking an artistic drawing of the Sterling Drive In.  If you can help, please contact Janet Hardison at or John Spencer at
--Hemphill/Capels Junior High School Reunion
Plans have been finalized for this event which will take place August 9, 2003.  For more information, see

See for additional information on other upcoming WHS reunions.

--In recognition of Valentine's Day, a special link to our WHS Couples web page ( is featured at our message board site( this month.There is plenty of room on the web site for more couples' pictures.  Please contact me if you would like to see yourself and your spouse (or your parents) featured on our couples pages.
--We also created a special Valentine's Day page in honor of our teachers.  It can be seen at

"Love doesn't make the world go 'round.  Love is what makes the ride worthwhile." -- Franklin P. Jones

--Many of the picture pages have been renewed and moved to new web locations.  I hope the pictures load onto your computer screen a bit quicker now.  All the picture links have been updated at to reflect these moves and to make it easier for you to locate pictures related to your particular class years.
--Senior class and reunion photos for the WHS Class of 1939 will be available for online viewing soon.  The above pictures link page will be updated as soon as the class of '39 pictures are posted.
--If you've got personal pictures (in digital format) to share with other WHS alumni, be sure to take advantage of the online album features provided for former WHS students at  Just click "Create Album" at the top of the page  and follow the online directions.

--A new item has been added to the  It is a tile box which is perfect for storing knick-knacks,  jewelry, or any precious keepsake. This versatile hinged box is made of authentic lacquered Alderwood and the tile lid features our WHS alma mater in maroon lettering.
--A Wild & Scenic West Virginia 2003 calendar can be ordered at

VIRUS STUFF (copied from web site & provided because so many have written me to ask about this particular problem)
Somebody recently wrote and asked: I've read where sometimes you can get email from someone you know but it's really not from them. A friend of mine kept sending me viruses but she swears she never sent them. How can this be?

Answer:  Your friend is most likely telling you the truth, or they are infected with a virus that is sending out mails without their knowledge! If someone is infected with  a certain virus, such as Klez, the virus will send itself out to everyone in the infected users address book. To make it even harder to identify who actually is infected with the virus, the virus even fakes the "from" field, so it looks like it is from someone else!
So, in the case of your friend, there are a couple of possibilities. First, your friend could be the one who has one of these type of virus, and the virus is automatically sending the mails to everyone in her address book without her knowledge. Or, a mutual friend may have both you and your friend's address in their address book, and the virus is sending to you and spoofing the from field to make it look like it is from the other friend!
For more information about this type of problem, please go to:

"Happiness isn't something you experience; it's something you remember." -- Oscar Levant
As always, please be sure to share these newsletters with your friends who do not have email.
Copies of these emails are posted online at
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If there is something specific you'd like to see covered in the next newsletter, please let me know.

I want to take this opportunity to thank all of you who continue to view our WHS Alumni Web Site and who take the time to share your pictures with us, post your news on our message boards and keep in touch through your emails.  I look forward to the continued growth of our web site and will do my best to be responsive to your input.  In the end, without you we have nothing.

I thought I would take a minute and try to compile a short report of the events of 2002 which had a major impact on us former WHS students:

2002 was a difficult year for many of us and/or our families and friends who still live in southern West Virginia.  On May 2 devastating flood waters once again passed through the area cutting a path of destruction even greater than the flood of July 8, 2001 and leaving McDowell County looking like a war zone.  David Grubb was among the many who took the time to obtain pictures of the flood destruction.  He shares them (and links to other flood picture sites) with us on the McDowell County Web Site at:
Cleanup and demolition activities continue even as we approach the new year.  See for demolition/cleanup photos taken by Bill Tolley, WHS '55.

Even those of us who continue to remember Welch through our rose-colored glasses of yesteryear were shocked beyond belief upon personally viewing the devastating effects of the flooding on our dear home town.  However, we were not the least bit surprised at the courage and determination displayed by folks as they took it upon themselves to clean up and begin rebuilding.

Shortly after the 2002 flooding, Alan "Cathead" Johnston, WHS '69, released his CD, "Muddy Water" which you can hear at:   Songs from The "Muddy Water" CD and the followup CD by Alan and his family, "The Hallelujah Project" (, are a great reflection of Alan's musical talents and his love for the hills of West Virginia.

A town which had been underwater only one month earlier welcomed home with open arms visiting students from the WHS classes of 1960-1969 who convened at the Sterling Drive In on June 21 to begin their weekend Sensational Sixties reunion celebration.  Pictures and an overview of the reunion can be viewed at

The WHS class of 1952 held its Golden Anniversary Reunion September 13-14 at the Holiday Inn in Bluefield, WV  (

Several classes announced plans for upcoming reunions:  The WHS class of 1956 will convene June 20-22, 2003 ( and the classes of 1953-55 plan joint Lost in the Fifties reunions over the next 3  years as each class celebrates their respective Golden (50th) Anniversary of Graduation.   The first of this series of joint reunions is scheduled for October 24-26, 2003.  More information can be found at:  The WHS Fabulous Fifties Classes ('55 - '60) will have their next reunion October 2004 ( and The Sensational Sixties classes will reconvene in June of 2005 (  Students from Hemphill-Capels Junior High School are planning a reunion and picnic August 9, 2003, at Glenwood Lake Park, State Route 20, Princeton, WV.  Contact Monte L. Blevins ( for more information.

Jean Battlo, WHS '57, published another novel, "The Mahotep Synod"  ( and former WHS '64 student Phylenia Snow French had stories published in Appalachian Life Magazine (

Those of you who frequent our WHS Message Board ( are aware of the astounding recovery of West Virginia State Trooper Robert J. Elswick.   On October 10, "Bobby" received a  critical shotgun wound to the head while responding to a domestic dispute in Hedgesville (northern) West Virginia.  Bobby is the son of former WHS student, Vicky Falvo Elswick.  He grew up in Welch and is a 1989 Mount View High School graduate.  After a month's stay at a hospital in Hagerstown, MD, Bobby is currently undergoing rehabilitation at Shepherd Center in Atlanta, Georgia.  In the meantime, the West Virginia State Police continue their efforts to raise funds for his family and wife, Terri, who, along with his parents, has remained  by his side since his October 10 injury.  If you would like to contribute to this effort, your donations can be mailed to the barracks at 14 Trooper Drive, Martinsburg, WV  25401.  His recovery and progress thus far have been a miracle in the making.  To read more about it, go to

A second Welch High School related web site called On the Hill ( was established  to allow more of us to get personally involved in the development of the WHS web community. One of its major attractions is a facility allowing any of us to easily post pictures on the web to share with our former classmates. In addition to several family/personal photo albums, a  few pictures from the Welch Veterans Day Parade 2002 have been posted there (  Thanks to all of you who have been so kind to take the time to post your photos.

We said our last goodbyes to several former WHS classmates in 2002 and former coach and teacher, John F. Suba, who passed away July 25, 2002.  He was a teacher and coach at WHS from 1948 through most all of the 1950s.

Recent changes to the web site include the addition of a link on our Real Audio web page to the Beau-dacious Oldies But Goodies ( site, which features over 1900 full-length songs.   A link to the recently created Big Creek High School web site  ( was added to our Other Links page.  Additional  pictures provided by Bill Tolley, WHS '55, were posted on the flood demolition pages (   Previous WHS Alumni Web Site email updates can be reviewed online at

The Welch High School Alumni Web Site has been online for 5 years and over 1,000 former students and teachers have visited the site.  Keep spreading the news because I'm sure there are another 1,000 out there who would enjoy viewing and contributing to the WHS Alumni Web pages.

Best wishes for a new year that will be filled with bright blessings of prosperity, health, and happiness.

New/Revised WHS Alumni Web Pages:

The WHS Class of '52 Golden Anniversary reunion photo can be viewed at:

A link to the web site for radio station WARX, 106.9 (  in Hagerstown, MD, has been added to our Real Audio Links page (  I really enjoy listening to this station in my car and only recently thought to see if they have a web site.  Using Real Audio or the Windows Media Player,  you can listen to their great oldies music shows 24/7 through your PC -- even if you are not in the station's broadcasting area.  Little Eva is doing the "Locomotion" right this minute.

Links to the Southern WV Coalfields and WV State Troopers web sites have been added to our Other Links ( page.  The Southern WV Coalfields website ( is a presentation of the historical significance of coal mining in WV.  There are several pictures at that site which you might enjoy viewing.

Daily updates on the recovery progress of WV State Trooper, Bobby Elswick are provided at the Troop 8 website (  Bobby, who recently suffered severe injuries in the line of duty, is the son of WHS '65 graduate, Vickie Falvo.  There's also a link to the WV Troop 8 website at the top of our Maroon Wave Message Board page (

Several new products (in addition to those mentioned in the last newsletter) have been added to the WHS novelty items available for purchase at CafePress (  CafePress has extended their flat shipping fee rate of $5 through mid-December.  Note that the current sale on specific items (hooded shirts, jerseys, bags & tiles) ends 12/02/2002.  Any of the WHS CafePress items would make a nice Christmas gift for the former WHS student.

Another gift idea you might want to consider is: "Voices from Appalachia."  This is an anthology of heartwarming stories, poems, and letters the author, Roger Osborne, has previously published in books and his newsletter during the past 10 years.  It showcases how Appalachians thrive during good times and struggle through bad times.  It is available in paperback for $9.95 and hardback for $22.95 plus $3 S&H for each book ordered.  Roger Osborne is publisher of Mountain Ink, a newsletter dedicated to preserving the Appalachian culture.  Previous books by  Osborne, "Land of Yesterday" and "Pilgrimage to An Appalachian Mining Camp" are sold as a set for $13 (plus 6% sales tax for Ohio residents).   Submit orders to: P.O. Box 742, Fairborn, OH  45324.  There is no subscription fee for Mountain Ink.  If you would like to receive future publications of the newsletter, you may donate whatever you wish to help defray printing and mailing expenses to Roger at the above address.  Be sure to provide your Name, Address, & Phone Number.

And, there's "The Great Moonshine Conspiracy Trial of 1935," scheduled for a December 19th release, which can be ordered from The Blue Lady Bookshop, 50 Floyd Avenue, Rocky Mount VA  24151. The price is $39.95 for all 944 pages - call 540-483-3692 for S & H information.  This is a publication by Keister Greer who attended school On the Hill with the WHS Class of '39.  His family moved to Virginia shortly after his sophomore year.

Don't forget to see all the other gift ideas posted at our WHS/Welch/McDowell County-related Gift Ideas page (  You will find ordering information there for publications by several other former WHS students.

Those of you who tend to check such things will note that I have not added anything to our "Updates" web page for quite some time.  Since so many of you are now receiving this newsletter, I have opted to discontinue the duplicate effort of posting these updates online.  Instead, I will provide a link where you can review copies of these WHS Alumni Web Site Update emails.

I copied the following from the Internet to share with you:

Whether or not you subscribe to the spiritual concept of thankfulness, it's never a bad idea to take time to reflect on the things in your life that are going well, that make you happy, that give you strength. The alternative—dwelling on whatever might be going wrong, worrying you, draining your energy—is something it's far too easy to make time for all year long.   There are many interesting, unusual prayers of thanks out there, serving many traditions. One is Tom Barrett's "A Thanksgiving Prayer," below. If you're looking for a different, more basic way to reflect on whatever good fortune has come your way, these words may be a good start.

In the spirit of humility we give thanks for all that is.
We thank the great spiritual beings who have shared their wisdom.
We thank our ancestors who brought us to where we are now.
We are grateful for the opportunity to walk this planet,
to breathe the air,
to taste the food,
to experience sensations of a human body/mind,
to share in this wonder that is life.
We are grateful for the natural world that supports us,
for the community of humankind that enables us to do many wonderous things.
We are grateful that we are conscious,
that as intelligent beings we can reflect upon the many gifts we have been
Happy Thanksgiving to all of you.  Be ever thankful for that beautiful place in the mountains of southern West Virginia we will always call home.

Gift Ideas
I just got word that, through November 20, there's a special discount being offered on some of the WHS items offered at  ( as well as free shipping on orders over $50.  You are encouraged to check that site often during the holiday shopping season as they will probably be offering more specials.  A 2003 wall calendar, a teddy bear wearing a WHS t-shirt and a lace-edged Christmas ornament with the WHS seal have been added as special 2002 Holiday gifts.  I printed a copy of the calendar picture on glossy paper and it looks great.   If you have suggestions for additional graphics we can feature on the ornaments, t-shirts, tote bags, etc., please contact me.  Also, keep in mind we can add license plate covers, post cards, Christmas stockings, fleece jackets & vests, THONGS (not the kind you wear on your feet), stickers, posters, lunch boxes and wall clocks to these items.  Let me know what particular items you'd be interested in ordering.

As new WHS/Welch/WV-related items are identified, I add them to our Gift Ideas page at
Please inform me of any additional items you think should be featured there.

Welch Veterans Day Parade 2002
A few pictures from the parade have been posted into an album on our OnThe Hill Pictures page (  A great big THANK YOU to Rodney Walker, WHS Class of '39, for sharing these pictures with us.  If you'd like to personally thank Rodney his email is:
Please feel free to add your own Veterans Day photos to this album.

Bobby Elswick
Those of you who frequent our WHS Message Board ( are aware of the astounding recovery of West Virginia State Trooper Robert J. Elswick.   On October 10, "Bobby" received a  critical shotgun wound to the head while responding to a domestic dispute in Hedgesville (northern) West Virginia.  Bobby is the son of former WHS student, Vicky Falvo Elswick.  He grew up in Welch and is a 1989 Mount View High School graduate.  After a month's stay at a hospital in Hagerstown, MD, Bobby is currently undergoing rehabilitation at Shepherd Center in Atlanta, Georgia.  In the meantime, the West Virginia State Police continue their efforts to raise funds for his family and wife, Terri who, along with his parents, has remained  by his side since his October 10 injury.  If you would like to contribute to this effort, your donations can be mailed to the barracks at 14 Trooper Drive, Martinsburg, WV  25401.  His recovery and progress thus far have been a miracle in the making.  To read more about it, go to  Making a donation in somebody's name could be your solution for that hard-to-find Christmas gift.

Big Creek High School Alumni AND FRIENDS 2003 Cruise to Alaska
The dates for this cruise are now confirmed for July 9-July 16, 2003.  I will release a separate message providing detailed information about reservations, etc. within the next few days.  It sounds like a really great trip and cruising with folks from back home will make it even better.

Classmate Undergoes Surgery
Pete Beck, class of '63, is recovering from recent heart surgery.  If you wish to send him a card, the address is:
Pete Beck, 6431 Somersby Drive, Myrtle Beach, SC 29576

Please share this newsletter with your WHS classmates who don't have email.


It has come to my attention that some of you have had trouble viewing these WHS Alumni email updates.  I've reverted to a text-only format which should work with any email program you might be using.  It ain't "pretty" but it works!

Carlisle Chewning of Welch has created a very nice video tape of the June 2002 reunion of WHS students of the 1960-1969 classes.  It begins with
footage of folks meeting at the Sterling Friday night, continues with coverage of the picnic festivities on Saturday and includes most ALL of the activities at the Holiday Inn on Saturday night.  If you didn't order a copy at the reunion, you can get one by sending $25 to Carlisle Chewning, Box 66, Welch, WV 24801.  Carlisle's email is: - phone # is 304-436-2849.

The video includes background music and live music of The Emeralds, the band who played for the reunion at the Holiday Inn on Saturday night.

This is a very professional, well-polished product.  The shots are not just "panned" pictures of a bunch of people, but up-close, in-your-face views of
the reunion attendees, their live reactions at seeing old friends, in many cases for the first time in 30+ years, and their spontaneous laughter and
delight at being together again.  If you were there, you will absolutely treasure "seeing and living" it all over again.  If you did not get to
attend the reunion, you'll enjoy seeing how good your classmates look (and how well they move), yes, even after all these years, and probably want to kill yourself for not being there.

Carlisle can't keep this film footage on his PC forever, so be sure to order your own copy SOON.

Join Staples for their America Recycles celebration from Sunday, November10th through Saturday, November 16th.  Get a FREE ream of Staples Recycled Paper just for dropping off an empty inkjet printer cartridge at your local Staples store.  Go to: to find a Staples store near you.

Fortunately, most of us who attended school On The Hill learned about the purpose of Veterans Day at an early age.  And, remember how we loved those Veterans Day parades in downtown Welch!  As a matter of fact, we have some pictures from one of those parades here:  (It takes a while for all the pictures to load, so please be patient.)

Take some time to remember our Veterans this November 11.

Not a week goes by that I don't receive an email from somebody trying to locate a former WHS student.  My first suggestion is to try our Missing
Persons web page ( where you can post the name(s) of people you are trying to locate.  We also have a web page with links to various places on the Internet to help with your search.  It is at :  If you have any suggested additions to this search page, please email me at  Also, if you find a person listed at
and are unable to send them an email message because you are not a paying member of, let me know and I'll send the message for you.  Keep in mind that there is no guarantee  they will read the message (they have to go to the site to review it) or that they will respond.

As long as I can find free web space, I will continue to post the WHS-related pictures you send to me.  Unfortunately, due to time constraints, as well as the dwindling availability of free web space, I have to limit this activity to specific alumni-related pictures; e.g., reunions, old school photos, etc.  However, if you have a picture you'd like to share with former WHS students, please feel free to take advantage of the photo-sharing utility at our On The Hill ( web pages.  You can copy your photo(s) into one of the current On The Hill picture albums, or, if you like, create a whole new picture album.  This is a great place to post family pictures, photos of Welch and/or the surrounding community (then and now), etc.

If this newsletter has been forwarded to you by a friend, you can sign up to receive your own copy at:
To be removed from this mailing list, simply reply to this email and type REMOVE in the subject line.


Holiday Gift Shopping
Hard to believe, but Christmas is only 8 weeks away.  Not to worry.  Here are a few ideas to give you a jump-start on your holiday gift shopping: --  A limited number of special stamped and autographed editions of "We Are Not Afraid" are available through Fred & Guylinda (Cox) Bailey, HC 31, Box 99, Welch, WV  24801.  The inside of the book is stamped with the following inscription: "Coalwood, W.Va. Home of the Rocket Boys" and each book is signed by the author, Homer Hickam. This makes these particular books unique and more valuable than those you'd purchase at your local bookstore.The book is very inspirational and includes stories by Homer as well as others who grew up in McDowell County. The books cost $15 each (which includes the cost of mailing).Please send an email to either: or or call 304-297-6144 to place your order.-- Additional WHS/Welch/McDowell County/WV-related gift suggestions can be found at our Gift Ideas web site.  One of the most recent items listed there is The Hallelujah Project CD with songs composed and performed by Alan Johnston, WHS '70, and members of his family.  Be sure to check the Amazon.comand links frequently.  They generally offer several different special sales during the last few months of the year.

On The Hill Online Group
Since it's creation last month, several pictures have been posted at our On The Hill web site.  Included are pictures reminiscent of times gone by in Welch and the surrounding communities as well as pictures of our current family members.  Thanks to everybody who has taken time to post their photos.  On The Hill provides plenty of space for all of us to share pictures, so feel free to post yours there too. Also, don't forget to utilize the Calendar part of the site to post upcoming events such as reunions, your birthday, wedding anniversary, etc.

A Few PC Tips--Search Engines
Because it's free and easy to maintain, the Atomz search engine is available on the WHS Alumni Web Site to help you locate specific pictures and/or information on certain classmates, etc.  Links to utilize this search engine are located throughout the web site.  However, if you're not having any luck with, I suggest you try Google, one of the most popular search engines on the web.  Below are some tips for using Google.  Keep in mind, that Google searches ALL the web, so your seach results may include web pages not related to the WHS Alumni Web Site.  Here are a few tips for obtaining the best results from a Google search:

Phrase Searches
If you're searching for an exact phrase (or name), enclose it in quotation marks. For example, typing "Sterling Drive In" is more likely to return pages specifically about the Sterling Drive In than the quote-free query Sterling Drive In, which returns pages containing all 3 words, whether or not they appear together. Try searching your own name; e.g., "John Doe" and see what happens. Next, try the search using your name in quotes followed by + Welch; e.g., "John Doe" + Welch.

Use OR
By default, Google returns pages containing all the words in your search query. If you don't want that, you can insert the word OR (all uppercase) between any two keywords, and Google will return pages containing either of those words. One good use for the OR option is to find something that goes by more than one name or spelling. For example, typing Welch West Virginia pictures OR photos will return pages containing references to either pictures or photos pertaining to Welch, while Welch West Virginia theater OR theatre will return pages containing both spellings of the word "theater."

Including Important Terms
Google usually excludes common English words (like "where," "how," and "to") and single letters (like "I" and "a"). But if a word or letter is essential to your search, you can precede it with a plus sign (+) to force Google to look for it. So, to find Web pages about how to bake pies, you might type +how +to bake pies to ensure that your search returns "how to" pages about pie baking.

Excluding Terms
To exclude pages that contain a certain word, type that word preceded by a minus sign (-). For example, if you wanted to find web pages that discuss mining, but not silver mining, you could type mining -silver to exclude the term "silver." Keep in mind that you can use the minus sign in conjunction with the plus sign: A search for mining+machine-silver tells Google that the pages returned must contain the word "machine" and must not contain the word "silver.

Spread the News
Please share the information in this email with your friends. Many of them do not have access to the web and/or are not signed up for the WHS Alumni newsletter. Persons interested in being included in future mailings of this newsletter can sign up HERE. And if you wish to be removed from this mailing list, please reply to this email so I can remove your name.Witching You All A Happy Halloween!

  September 22, 2002
New WHS Web Site!
Yes, you read correctly. We have yet another Welch High School related web site! It is called On The Hill. This new site doesn't replace our regular WHS Alumni Web Site, but gives all of us who attended school On The Hill a way to get more personally involved in the development of the WHS web community.

One of its major attractions is a facility allowing any of us to easily post pictures on the web to share with our former classmates. These could be old school pictures, pictures of your family, vacation pictures, etc.

Additional features include a Calendar where you can post information about upcoming events (family or school reunions, somebody's birthday, an anniversary, whatever you like). There's also a page for you to share some of those favorite meals from when you were growing up in McDowell County.

Many additional options are available for the On The Hill site which we will pursue in the future.

Class of 1954 Needs Help Locating Former Students
As many of you know, John Hurt had for many years been the sole source for maintaining the address information for the class of '54. Due to John Hurt's recent death, John Thomas has agreed to try to pull together the address information for this class. However, he NEEDS your help NOW. If you have address information (regular and/or email) on any of the former students from the WHS class of '54, please contact John Thomas at as soon as possible. Please do not assume that because you have the information or because it is posted somewhere on the WHS Alumni Web Site that John has it. He is basically beginning this search with a "blank page."

Over the next few months the Lost in the 50s Reunion Committee will attempt to verify contact information for all of the '53, '54 & '55 classmates to notify them of their group reunions which will begin next October. They will post the names of classmates they have not been able to locate HERE.

Spread the News
Please share the information in this email with your friends. Many of them do not have access to the web and/or are not signed up for the WHS Alumni newsletter. Persons interested in being included in future mailings of this newsletter can sign up HERE. And if, Heaven Forbid!, you wish to be removed from this mailing list, please reply to this email telling me so.

Can you relate?
"I write down everything I want to remember. That way, instead of spending a lot of time trying to remember what it is I wrote down, I spend the time looking for the paper I wrote it down on." -Beryl Pfizer

September 9, 2002:

New Web Pages and Updates to Others
A new web page, Growing Up In a Coal Camp, has been added to our Other Links of Interest. It features short stories by Connie Baisden Barker of Madison, WV, about characters who lived in coal mining towns in the counties of Logan, Boone and Mingo, WV in the 1960s and earlier. One of her short stories, Mommy's Love for a Special Soldier, is being published in a book of Appalachian Stories called "Voices In Appalachia," edited by Roger Osborne. As soon as the book is available for purchase, I will add it to our Gift Ideas page.

Speaking of Gift Ideas, is having a drinkware sale. Frosted steins, travel mugs and regular mugs, emblazoned with the WHS seal, are $3 off during the month of September!

The 1954-55 Superior Maitland 7th grade class picture has been posted HERE. Many of these students later became part of the WHS Class of 1960.

All prior message board pages beginning with January 1999 are now posted HERE.

Just FYI: The AARP web site features an excellent, easy-to-understand explanation of PC viruses.

Reunion News
The WHS Class of 1956 has announced plans to have their 47th class reunion at Pipestem State Park June 20-22, 2003.

Students from Hemphill-Caples Junior High School are planning a reunion and picnic August 9, 2003, at Glenwood Lake Park, State Route 20, Princeton, WV. Contact: Monte L. Blevins for more information.

Lost in the Fifties Reunions: Beginning October 2003, The WHS classes of 1953, 1954, & 1955 will convene for joint reunions over three consecutive years as each class celebrates their respective Golden (50th)Anniversary of Graduation.

Big Creek High School alumni are making plans for their 2003 all-alumni reunion. It will most likely be a 5-day cruise out of Tampa, FL, in June or July. They have extended an invitation to any and all WHS alumni to join them. Further information about this cruise will be posted on the WHS Alumni Message Board.

The WHS Classes of the Sensational Sixties will have their third reunion June 24-25, 2005.

A reflection on September 11, 2001 With the first anniversary of September 11 in mind, I'd like to share this site that features an original web movie, American Spirit, designed as a tribute to the victims of September 11. Creator Jeff Giesener hopes the site will trigger what he calls a "positive viral global effort" leading people to spread the word about the tribute, as well as to re-ignite the same generosity immediately following September 11, 2001. At the conclusion of the web presentation links to The American Red Cross and the United Way will enable visitors to go directly to those sites to make a contribution or learn how they can help others in need. The presentation took about 10 minutes to load on my PC. It is well worth the wait.


Please share the information in this newsletter with your friends. Many of them do not have access to the web and/or are not signed up for the WHS Alumni newsletter. Persons interested in being included in future mailings of this newsletter can sign up HEREAnd if, Heaven Forbid!, you wish to be removed from this mailing list, please reply to this email telling me so.

If you have information you would like to share with fellow WHS alumni through this newsletter (the birth of a grandchild, a story about what you are doing in your retirement, info on a local mini-reunion, etc.), please send it to me to be included in the next publication.

Something to think about:
Life is not measured by the number of breaths we take, but by the moments that take our breath away.
--Author Unknown.

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