Appendix A — Memories from Family Members

April 6, 2009 - 1,624 views

The following memories were collected from brothers and sisters, children, and grandchildren of Ashby and Ruth Randolph. Some of them were written in 1975 to be included in the “This is Your Life” booklet that was prepared for the Golden Wedding Anniversary of Ashby and Ruth. Others were written in 1984, especially to be included in this book of memories.


Memories of Sons, Daughters, and Their Spouses

Xenia Lee Randolph Wheeler

I remember when . . .

We children played in dust and fine, tasty dirt under the living room floor.

The foundation was covered with galvanized tin sheeting.
A fence surrounded the house.
I planted daffodils along the fence.
Dad, Mom, and we kids played tag, hide-and-seek, softball.
Dad used to bang my head on the ceiling; then, as I grew, I clasped my hands together and he lifted them to the ceiling.

I remember trading lunches at Morris School, playing ball, playing house on a rock–which reminds me of the beautiful rocks on the flat at home where we girls and the boys had play houses and sometimes had picnics of a quart of blackberries or raw beets and carrots. Sometimes we took popped corn up there.

I remember scarlet fever–Dad staying in the front bedroom so he could attend summer school. We children watching the paved road being built; the excitement watching our first pit toilet dug and set up–such luxury! Gaining strength and learning to walk again. Skin peeling. Great Grandma scooting her rocker throughout the house. Dad’s graduation from Salem College.

Quilting parties, candy making at Christmas, Christmas programs at Morris. Uncle Elmo as Santa–singing “Jingle Bells” louder and louder, hoping Santa would hear us and come.

Dad’s illness; Grandma Randolph taking care of us; Aunt Lydia teaching us. I remember ear aches. I remember Beth’s arrival–then the thrill of having Dad home–good neighbors who came to help day by day. Mom and Dad numbering two checker boards so the closet doors could be opened and they could call out numbers as they enjoyed many checker games in their respective rooms.

Christmases with oranges and popcorn balls piled under the tree on the table in the living room (front bedroom now). Shoes filled with nuts, candy, and fruit; dolls we proudly showed Dad and Mom; the boys’ punching bag.

I remember milking cows, feeding chickens, picking wild strawberries, blackberries, huckleberries; taking family walks into the woods in early spring. Sabbath days having our own church services and Sabbath School classes, later Dad and Mom reading to each other –sometimes American Magazine novels.

I remember getting to hold Edna Ruth if I did not cry when the health nurse came to the house to give me a shot so I could go to school. I had crawled out of reach under the house when I saw her coming. This was not my first shot!

I remember going to Grandpa Bond’s on Christmas. I remember sugar cookies that Grandma made. I remember the terrible snow blizzard one Christmas and walking home from Weekleys in it, stopping at Coffindaffers to warm up and on home. I remember crying children, cold hands, and that last bank to the house; the warm fire, hot sausage with milk gravy on biscuits eaten in the living room by the fire (Mom wearing her coat to prepare meals).

I remember 4-H clubs at Morris and Jarvisville; baking and sewing projects; demonstrations during meetings; exhibits of projects; 4-H camps and Church camps with Dad helping.

I remember strawberry time at Aunt Susie’s, butchering time at home. Vacations at both grandparents; getting acquainted with cousins!

How thankful I am for parents who taught me the real values of life early. We walked every week to church and Sunday School. Mom played piano. One year I had perfect attendance. They gave me a little doll. How I loved it!

I learned to keep house, cook, can, bake bread, sew; but most of all I knew the security of a home where love was practiced and felt, harmony reigned. We worked together and played together. What a rich heritage. Your deep faith and trust in God, your service to Him as you met needs in the community, as we had devotions in the home, as Dad read, taught and practiced God’s teachings and disciplines in the school room as well as home–all gave me a solid foundation on which to build my life and brings me to the joys I know today in my own home with my family and in full-time Christian service for others.

Thank you, Dad and Mom!


Edgar Wheeler

I remember my first visit to Dad and Mom Randolph’s home. It was an early misty 4th of July. Xenia Lee had invited me to go with the family for a picnic at Grandpa Randolph’s at Sutton, W.Va. My first interest was Xenia Lee, of course; but I was immediately impressed by the friendliness and industriousness of Dad and Mom, and the closeness of the family–a real memorable day!

That was my unforgettable introduction to them and the family of which I am very happily a part. I remember kindness and helpfulness they have constantly shown through the years.

And I remember asking for their permission to marry Xenia Lee –and receiving it after a little friendly persuasion from the two of us.

And “Thank you, Dad and Mom, for letting Xenia Lee be my wife-and me be a part of a good family!”


Mae Randolph Lewis Bottoms

There are so many things I could write about, but I will pick just a few that will give some idea of life in the 1930’s and 40’s as we grew up in rural W.Va.

Early Schooling

In the fall of 1936, I started first grade at a one-room school at Morris–the last year that Dad taught there. I can remember sometimes walking the mile to school with Dad, Bond, Xenia Lee, and Alois.

One incident I vaguely remember involved Alois, who was in second grade. He sat toward the back of the row of seats in which I sat toward the front. One day there was a commotion, giggling, etc. at the back of that row. When Dad investigated, he found that Alois was entertaining everyone near him by making them think he was eating a fly. (He was a real ham!) So Dad made him come to the front of the school and entertain everyone by actually eating that fly. I don’t know if that taught him a lesson or not.

I also remember nature walks in the spring when Dad took all of the student–grades one through six–for a walk through the woods near the school and to a meadow on top of a nearby hill. He taught us to recognize trees by their bark and by leaves and to recognize many wild flowers and birds. When we got to the top of the hill, Dad would help the older children to fly kites–a real special treat!

When I was in second grade, we all went to Jarvisville to a two-room school. Dad taught grades 4-6 and was the principal. A Miss Smith taught grades 1-3. Xenia Lee and Bond were in grades 5 and 6 and still had Dad as their teacher.

One incident I remember that year happened in the spring when they were first paving the road in front of our house. As a part of in-service education at that time, teachers would cancel their school one day and go to visit some other school in the area. So Dad had a visitation day, and children in grades 4-6 did not have to go that day. But Alois and I still had to go.

I don’t remember our getting to school that morning, but I assume Dad took us as he went to another school to visit. I do remember that Alois and I had to walk home alone the 2 1/2 miles. That would have been no problem except for the fresh tar. Dad and Mom tried to tell us how to walk along the ridge of a hill near the road and come across the hill and in behind our home. We had not gone a half mile before I started crying and was sure we were lost. With my insistent crying, Alois began to lose his confidence as to our whereabouts. Finally, Alois gave in to me, and we decided to walk up the road where we knew the way. Thinking we were staying out of the tar, we walked in the grass alongside the road. Instead of just getting tar on our feet, we got tar all over us from the tall grass. We were late getting home, and we were a mess. Mom had to clean us up with gasoline to get the tar off.

One special thing I remember from the country schools was contests between different area schools. Sometimes we went to other schools, and sometimes they came to our school. These contests would usually take half a day and would include spelling bees, arithmetic contests, and softball games.

Dad was especially good at teaching math, and he made all of us love math. I especially remember the way we had to analyze problems verbally, and I feel this did much to develop our analytic thinking and logic. For example, we would have to verbalize each problem as follows: “If one apple costs 5 cents, then 20 apples would cost 20 times 5 cents or $1.00.”

Going to school to Grandpa Randolph.

When I was in sixth grade, I thought I wanted to go to school to Grandpa Randolph for a while, and I knew that would be the last year that I could. Grandma and Grandpa Randolph lived on Bug Ridge near Sutton, and Grandpa taught a one-room school about a mile from their home. Grandpa had an apple orchard, and in October Mother went there to make applebutter. Edna Ruth was in fourth grade that year, and she and I decided to go with Mother and stay until Thanksgiving to go to school to Grandpa. They lived about 70 miles from us, and it took about half a day to get there. The afternoon that we got to Grandpa’s, Edna Ruth was having second thoughts about staying but I was excited about it. We had taken some of our books with us, and that evening I asked Grandpa what kind of math workbooks he used. He said, “The only workbook I use is a whip.” I didn’t know what to make of that answer.

The next day Mother was going to make applebutter in the morning and start home after lunch. Edna Ruth and I went to school with Grandpa that morning. The mountain children were strange to us, and we were strange to them. At noon I was having second thoughts about staying, and Edna Ruth was trying to persuade me to stay. We ended up both going home with Mother and singing “Home, Sweet Home” most of the way. So we went to school to Grandpa Randolph–but only half a day!

Playing together.

We worked hard together, and we played together. Although Mother did not particularly like the water, Dad saw to it that we children all learned to swim and that we loved the water. I remember many happy times swimming in the deep hole in the creek that ran in front of our home. And many times we went with Aunt Susie’s family in a larger stream near their home. Because we swam in rivers and creeks where there were no lifeguards, Dad always saw that we had a buddy system. Two people were paired as buddies, and those people were responsible for watching each other. When Dad blew a whistle, the buddies had to be holding hands within a few seconds. If not, we had to get out–so we learned fast to be good buddies.

We had lots of softball games in the meadow in front of our home. Sometimes neighbors who happened to be driving by would stop to play with us. And when we got together with Aunt Susie’s family, we had enough people for two full teams. We also played badminton in the yard. I don’t remember playing volleyball when we were children, but I do remember many volleyball games in a court in the meadow when we got together after we were grown. I also remember sometimes when we did not have a softball to play with, Mom would make one for us by winding string into a ball.

I remember Easter egg hunts in the pasture at home, at school, and at Grandpa Bond’s. We colored eggs, and Dad often bought wrapped peanut butter taffy and caramel candies. These would be hid along a marked trail; and at a signal we would go hunting. Usually different trails would be prepared for younger children and older children.

Dad got paid once a month during the school year, and he did not get a school check during the summer months. I remember payday was a special time. Mother usually went to town to cash the check and pay monthly bills. We sometimes ran a grocery bill at a country store in Jarvisville. When Mom paid this once a month, the storekeeper usually gave her a sack of candy for us children. Also I remember that sometimes when Mom went to Clarksburg on payday, she would buy us a jump rope or jacks. Alois usually could beat me at jumping rope and at jacks, but I also loved to play. We had lots of fun together!

There are many more incidents that I remember, and it is hard to chose what to include. I will simply close by expressing my thanks to you, Dad and Mom, for the love and sense of responsibility and belonging that you gave to all of us. I feel privileged to have had you as parents and to be able to help you complete your book of memories by including a few of mine.


Donald Richards

I’m happy to share several mental pictures of memories which have personal value and are characteristic of our relationship over the years.

The first time I was in your home, following introductions, I talked with Dad while he churned butter. After he finished, he put the churn on the floor next to his chair. Trying to be helpful, I offered to take it to the kitchen and received permission. However, as I started to put it on the table, the lid and crank mechanism separated from the jar. Butter, buttermilk, and broken glass splattered the floor. I wanted to crawl into a hole and pull it in after me, but couldn’t. I certainly succeeded in making an impression on you! You did your best to make me feel at ease, for which I was grateful. Only later did I discover that I had broken a borrowed churn.

Being near you through parts of Edna Ruth’s four pregnancies was a lifesaver for both of us, and later all of us. The same was true of Tim’s early illnesses. You never offered a word of complaint about personal inconvenience, added expense, and general emotional anxiety caused by our sickness. You were always there to help as needed, and not interfere.

As the children grew older, they looked forward to their summer visits, as did we when able to stay. When we left them, we always missed them but knew they were happy to be at Grandpa and Grandma’s home. Tim wrote, “We’re feasting on groundhog and turtle!” Your home was a haven for all. Special visit highlights include your 40th and 50th anniversary celebrations.

I will always remember and appreciate the generous and gracious spirit exemplified during Edna Ruth’s sickness and death. You hurt, oh so deeply, but you were there. I remember so well following her first surgery when we urged you to go ahead with your planned trip to Florida. You, Mom, said, “Oh, we couldn’t think of such a thing without knowing for sure Edna Ruth is all right.” You postponed your southern trip and came to New Jersey instead. Your presence helped so much and was deeply appreciated. Then, after she was better, while packing the car for your Florida trip, I remarked, “I can find only one of Dad’s overshoes.” I still laugh at myself when I think of the incident.

After Edna Ruth’s death, you returned home with an ache in your heart for her, and for us. You have always made me feel more like a son than a son-in-law. And I’m grateful for your acceptance of Shirley into the family circle, too. This is so typical of the circle of your loving concern, ever reaching out and drawing us into your hearts.

We are indeed rich and thank our heavenly Father for you, and pray God’s blessing and peace may rest upon you always.


Beth Randolph

I have lots of memories from when I was a kid, but probably the one event with the longest-lasting effect on my life was the time I used eggs to make my mud pies. I had been doing this for two or three days when Mother asked me if I knew anything about the eggs. She hadn’t been getting many the last few days. I said I didn’t. She never said anything more and neither did I, but the eggs quit disappearing. I felt so miserable about her believing me with no more questions asked that I have never intentionally lied to anyone again.

My legacy from Dad was a love of nature–especially birds, trees, and flowers–and a love of sports. People tell me they enjoy my enthusiasm. If that’s what I have, that must have come from him, too.

Thanks for all you’ve given to us, Dad and Mom.


Memories of Grandchildren and Great Grandchildren

Ruth Wheeler Thorpe

As a young child, I remember many trips to W.Va. to see Grandma and Grandpa. I always remember the atmosphere being somewhat quiet and joyful.

Many times we children would wake up in the morning and hear Grandma and her daughters, Mom included, in the kitchen preparing food and laughing as they gabbed. They prepared specialties such as rolls, fried fish, pies, cookies, fresh vegetables, and delicious fried crab tails (the only times I have had that).

At Grandma and Grandpa’s there was always a lot of time to fish and play games. In fact, that is where we grandchildren learned to play “Rook” cards.

In the evenings I can remember everyone sitting around in the cozy living room and we’d sing as Uncle Louie played the guitar. Then Grandpa would sing his “Poodle Dog” song and Grandma would tell “Woodticks.” That’s something I still enjoy when we get together.

When I went to college, I spent some weekends with Grandma and Grandpa. As I was taking a course in children’s art, Grandpa and Grandma helped me make some miniatures of a whittled gun and a braided rug. The time together was real special.

Our church college group had a weekend at Grandma and Grandpa’s my second year in school. It was so much fun, and the food was great! Grandma and Grandpa always welcome people into their home with wide-opened arms, and it is such a joy to be with them.

They get so much done and yet have so much time for fun things. And while things are being done, you feel relaxed. It is country living at its very best.


Leon Wheeler

The sun begins to rise, the rooster crows. Another day springs to life.

Pancakes, eggs, bacon, toast from homemade bread. Delicious!

An old wooden scythe, a whetstone, a club attached to my black leather belt, and high-cut boots. It’s time for work.

The cool morning air and glistening grass–dogs bark–birds sing in celebration. It’s a beautiful day.

The scythe swings in rhythm with the pulse of the earth. hot, perspiring, full of energy, alive . . . a drink of cool water. Ahh . . . refreshing. United with nature and self and the quiet exhilaration of physical labor, the day is quickly spent. I am tired, but at peace.

The work is done, the pond calls. rod and reel, hook and bobber, shining minnow, a serene lake. Life is so simple.

Evening falls silently . . . gently, the benediction to a beautiful day.

I’ve learned so much, Grandpa and Grandma. Thank you for teaching me to appreciate nature, work, and life. I love you.


Jon Wheeler

When I went to Great Grandma and Grandpa’s house, I remember fishing at their pond and catching a 19 1/2 inch catfish. And it was so big I could hardly hold it.


Robert Wheeler

It is interesting how our views of people reflect as much ourselves as they do those people. As I think back on my memories of Grandpa and Grandma Randolph over the years, I am reminded of that. Therefore, it is with some risk that I write these memories.

My earliest memories of Grandpa and Grandma are vague and infused with the home place, aunts, uncles and cousins. My first specific memories come from the time when our family lived in Salemville, Pennsylvania. Dad was and is a minister, and in my early childhood we lived far from any close relatives and we moved fairly frequently. Therefore, our visits to West Virginia became what I would now consider a return to roots. In West Virginia one found kin firmly established within the embrace of those timeless hills. I am certain that those visits contributed as much to my identity as any other single set of experiences outside my immediate family.

I vividly recall arriving at Grandpa and Grandma’s, usually late at night; turning off the winding paved road that was more potholes and patched potholes than original pavement onto the driveway;, the crunch of large chunks of refuse coal under the tires; the frequently muddy ruts where the coal had been pressed into the slick red clay; the old bridge which disappeared from view of the headlights as we approached it; the clatter, creaks and groans of the planks as they rose and fell again on the timber that seemed so precariously to span the banks; the cellar house growing out of the hill to the south of the main house; the pump on the porch by the kitchen that had to be primed and by which we had our Friday night baths in the zinc plated washtub; and grandma. Grandma was always there waiting and out the door before the car came to a stop. She was the epitome of loyalty and steadfast love. She almost ran to the car in her long strides, her strong arms and work-worn hands extended, and her weathered face radiant with a huge toothy smile that almost burst with enthusiasm. And it was so good to hear her call in that high resonant voice that must have called many a cow with a sincere Hilly drawl, “Well, how’r ya doin’.” it all engulfed me in a huge hug that was so warm and secure that it left no doubt that I was “home.”

Upon entering the house, Grandpa would call “hello” from behind the curtain which passed as a door to the bedroom just off the kitchen. Frequently other aunts, uncles or cousins were there or would soon arrive. If it were winter we would crawl up in a bed with the glow of a gas stove with its blue pointed flames above which radiated its heat in orange-red ceramic fingers.

I never saw Grandma retire to bed, nor did I ever see her arise. When I awoke to the bustle of activity about me and went into the kitchen, Grandma already had pancakes on the griddle with perhaps sausage or bacon and puffed rice and grapenuts on the table. Grandpa usually was seated in his rocker by the door to the window to the dark walkway under the cellar house by which one could get to the cellar. It was in that same cellar that Grandma once said she killed a huge black snake. That was okay for Grandma who seemed always to be killing snakes about, frequently copperheads, it seemed, and an occasional rattle snake or some “harmless” snake; but I dreaded even the distant sight of snakes and I don’t believe that I ever had the courage to enter the cellar even as an adult.

My earliest memories of Grandma essentially cast her in the role of the great provider. Grandma somehow did it all with a hearty laugh at anything we kids had to say. She might punctuate the laughter with “Well, fer cryin’ out loud!” or “Ya don’t say!”

When Grandma was not looking after us, she was looking after Grandpa. Until he got his whistle, Grandpa need only call, “Ruth! Hey Ruth!” and she came in a jiffy from the garden, kitchen, or field, where ever she might have been working. In later childhood or adolescence I recall an occasional remonstrance: “You’d think that all I had to do was look after you,” or something to that effect.

I remember Grandpa’s frown of concentration and his large hands that were an integral part of his speech and personality. Even today when I visit I am struck with their deliberate and precise expressions which speak even when at task. I recall as a child those hands with a knife skillfully applied to a stick of wood one of the grandchildren had brought to him after a precisely prescribed adventure designed to obtain the required material; I remember those hands with lace or leather tools, always deliberate, with the thumb underneath and the rest of the fingers aligned straight and above and touching to the thumb in a measured way until it was just right for the task; I remember how they embraced the steering wheel of his car with a finger extended in precision, and how they gripped his crutches or the chair into which he was descending, again with the utmost deliberation. But behind all the precision and deliberation of those hands extended Grandpa’s personality. Whatever those hands said, they expressed an opinion, and not just an opinion but one that was final, that put the matter for rest once and for all.

One did not argue with Grandpa. No one, that is, except, perhaps Grandma. And then, it was not argument. For all Grandma’s selfless serving of others and of Grandpa, particularly, on matters of importance to her, Grandma stood her ground, and Grandpa listened. This I saw only when I was much older, and although it surprised me at first, yet, once I had recovered, I was impressed that there remained under it a mutual respect for the other, a mutual devotion, dependency, love.

Grandpa was forever the teacher. That is how the entire community saw him. Everywhere Grandpa went, someone greeted him as though they were family. When one rode with Grandpa in the car, almost no one passed without greeting us with an enthusiastic smile and a waive, and Grandpa would return the kindness with a nod of the head and a variation on that familiar hand gesture which this time approximated a salute. It made me feel good, not so much because everyone knew my grandpa, but because the whole community was in some sense family. Everything, everyone belonged, even I.

Grandpa’s grandchildren were as much his students as his school children. We were taught the calls and identity of the bob white, wood thrush, catbird, cardinal and many other native birds. Wood carving was an essential summer activity and a sharp knife was essential to the lessons. We worked with lace and leather, too. We learned how to dig sassafras and make tea of its roots, and we learned to cut white birch twigs and make tea of the bark. The birch bark was better when eaten from the twig, however.

When he still taught, I recall the smooth worn wooden tray on which Grandpa corrected papers, frequently in the Spring to the sound of the Pittsburgh Pirates game. Those games also provided good company when fishing. In fact, although I knew Pittsburgh was in Pennsylvania, I assumed that the baseball team belonged to West Virginia, and more particularly to Grandpa.

When he still smoked, I recall how Grandpa rolled the cigarette in a thin white tissue, licked the edge of the paper carefully and nursed the edge with that same deliberate manual expression. I recall the very first puff, too – a fresh almost roasted smell. Unfortunately only the first puff that filled the air was good. However, Grandpa quit smoking soon thereafter, I am told probably as much out of concern for the example it taught as for his own health.

In my high school years I noted that with Grandpa adults were not beneath his teaching – not even his own children. That surprised me because I always imagined how great it would be when I graduated from high school and no one would tell me what to do again. When there were tasks to be done, Grandpa carefully explained the manner in which they were to be accomplished, at times with some difference of opinion.

I attended Salem College for five years upon graduation from high school. It is difficult for one to attach rational explanation to adolescent decisions, but I suppose I chose Salem as much because of my attraction to Grandpa and Grandma and romantic notions of escape from the outside impersonal world as for any other reason. Retreat to Grandpa and Grandma’s was retreat into the friendly isolation of their locale and family. I recall many weekend visits from Salem. Uncle Rex, Uncle Bond or Grandpa and Grandma would provide transportation to or from the campus. Rook was the favorite pastime of family gatherings. Uncle Bond could do magic, Grandpa was deliberate, serious and calculating, but Grandma was a joy. She was the best partner one could have. Even when she complained of miserable hands, one always vividly sensed in her the pure, simple joy of life.

Early in my college experience I recall complaining to Grandpa about professors and being met with hostility toward my impudence, disrespect and presumptuousness. His Democratic views frequently clashed with my innately Republican views. He suggested quite antiquated ideas. I am sure that he and Grandma would not be offended when I say that Grandpa and I simply did not see eye to eye on many things and it was frequently evident.

Toward the end of my college career, it was no longer necessary for me to teach Grandpa. Although Grandpa used language which was old and unfamiliar to me, what he said expressed fundamentally sound, eternal principles about human nature which were as applicable in education then as at any other time in history. Once I could accept Grandpa for the person he was and not try to remake him in my mold, a whole new person opened up to me. I vividly recall his description of a lecture by the dean upon his graduation from teachers college. The subject was “How to Whup a Boy.” It struck me that although the current education thought was adverse to corporal punishment in schools, nonetheless the method described struck at the core of all good education, indeed human relations: respect and love for the individual; restraint; reconciliation. The method described required three swats, but after each a period of time when the teacher rubbed the boy down, explained the problem of the behavior, that the teacher did not want to punish the child, but that it was done to help the child. Such a method kept the punishment focused on the welfare and dignity of the child, and it assured that the punishment did not deteriorate into mere vindictiveness or venting of rage.

It was a wonderful experience when just Grandpa and I went fishing and he trusted me to support him in place of his crutch. For a person with one leg, stability is a constant concern. The Grandpa on whom I had always depended, was now depending on me. It is difficult to describe what that change in relationship meant to me.

Similarly, it was toward the end of my college education that I began to discover a new Grandma. About that time I was trying to sort out who God was and why illness and evil occur in the world despite the best of our efforts – those apparent flaws in a fabric which I had always believed to be perfect. At that time I became impressed with Grandma’s quiet, yet powerful and pervasive faith. She never preached to anyone, even when they deserved it -she never had to. She was always willing to help, to serve, and yet she did so with the greatest of self integrity. She always accepted people without judgment.

I became impressed with Grandma’s quiet and constant religious conviction. Although Grandpa was physically unable to attend church at Lost Creek, and I do not recall a time when the two of them went to Church, every Friday night Grandma studied the Helping Hand in the rocking chair in the kitchen. It was evident that she obtained great strength from that time of devotion.

As I have matured, I have found myself moving from focus on “right belief” to a recognition that at the core, Jesus’ message is that one can find God and salvation only through love and service of other people. Both Grandpa and Grandma, I have come to realize, have shown and indeed experienced, God’s love, through their love and devotion to each other and to the people that surround them, whoever they may be. I see their influence in not only my aunts, uncles, cousins and parents, but also in myself, and I am indeed grateful. The roots I have found in them turns out to be far more basic and expansive than the isolated family orientation which I originally sought from them. I thank them for that. I also thank them for this autobiography in which they again share themselves with us.


Cindy Randolph Truman

I like to go to West Virginia to Grandpa and Grandma’s because I just love Grandma’s cooking, and many times she also helps me cook. I also like to go fishing with Grandpa because he’s always teaching me something new. I’ll never forget when Diana and I were little–about 9 years old–and we were learning to fish. I was taking the fish to the bucket. I didn’t hold it like Grandpa said; it stuck its fin up and stuck my hand. Grandpa got upset because I lost my fish, but I was glad because I learned how to hold a fish. I love also to take care of Grandpa’s tropical fish.

Every time I go down, Grandma adds me a couple extra pounds. But everyone loves her cooking.

I think they are just the greatest grandparents anyone could have.


Brian Randolph

I like to go to Grandpa and Grandma Randolph’s because we are always welcome. Grandma’s food is always great, and she is always glad to see us. She always has work for us to do. I don’t mind because I like to help her. Grandpa is special in other ways such as if we work for him after we are done he will take us fishing. It is fun to fish with Grandpa because you always learn something new. On days it rains Grandpa starts up chess matches and other games. Grandpa usually wins, but it is fun to try to beat him. I love Grandpa and Grandma for what they have taught me and for the things they have done for me.


Doug Randolph

I like to go to West Virginia to stay at Grandma’s and Grandpa’s to fish and play chess with Grandpa, and I also like Grandma’s cooking. I also like to play in the pines and at night watch TV with Grandpa–and the snack that Grandma makes before bed.


John Randolph

When I go to Grandpa and Grandma’s house,
I very seldom find a mouse.
Grandpa–well, he likes to fish,
While Grandma cleans another dish.
Uncle Rex don’t live too far away;
Sometimes I go up there to play.
I will love Grandpa and Grandma always,
And I’ll always remember the good old days,
When Grandma would make us a rhubarb pie,
And we would go fishing–Grandpa and I.


Elyn Lewis

From the time I was very young, I felt that my grandparents were very unique and special. No one else’s Grandpa had only one lea and walked with crutches. The crutches always intrigued me, and wished I could play with them. And my Grandma had pure WHITE hair, but she had much more youth and stamina than the picture-book grandmas with white hair.

I was impressed that they lived in W.Va. in the mountains with a river” in front of their house and that they had a cellar house connected by a walkway rather than the traditional two stories. I always hoped our family could sleep in the cellar house, and I thought it was fantastic to catch minnows and crayfish in the creek.

When I got older, I enjoyed going fishing with Grandpa in real rivers or lakes and sometimes riding in his rowboat or just hearing about it. When I thought of Grandpa, I thought of fishing. And Grandma amazed me by the many skills and talents she possessed, not the least of which was her cooking, including her specialty–homebaked bread.

My summers in W.Va. included fishing every day, working in the gardens, and learning to be a “Boy” Scout, among other things. At night we slept in the cellar house and scared each other with stories of bobcats outside.

Now that I’m older, I’m convinced more than ever that my grandparents are unique and special. Their inner characteristics and strength impress me now. And I know my friends and I are always welcome no matter what the hour of the nightl


Mark Lewis

Since my earliest memories as a chld, the memory of trips to West Virginia to visit Grandpa and Grandma Randolph have always been special. The trip from Southern Illinois was an adventure, and our expectations rose as each mile drew us nearer to their home. No matter what the snow and winter chill was like outside, the warmth of love in their home made us always warm and comfortable.

When I think of trips to their home, good fishing and good eating are always highlights. We spent hours weeding the gardens every summer. Now, weeding a garden wasn’t my first choice of summer fun; but it taught us kids the value of work. If you want to enjoy the bounty of the harvest, you must share in the labor that preceeds it. Many summer afternoons were spent sickling the grass around new pine seedlings on the side hill over the pond. This summer (1984) those same seedlings are 20 feet tall!

The summer of 1968 cousin Richard Wheeler and I stayed with Grandpa and Grandma and worked for them. That’s the summer we sickled the pine seedlings. We cleared undergrowth in their woods up the hollow. Grandpa carved a handle to fit a double-bit axe head, and it was just the right size for a boy like me. I was so proud of my axe; it was a joy to cut wood with it by the hour. Grandpa taught me how to build a fire and how to cook outdoors.

Grandma was always spry, healthy, cheerful, busy, hard-working, supportive, full of love for us all, and baked pies and cakes so good you never wanted to stop eating. Grandpa was always ready to teach us kids somethings, especially scouting skills. He taught me how to whittle, sharpen a knife, and the value of patience through fishing.

Two sayings stick most in my mind when thinking about my grandparents. First is “Look for the good in people.” They always looked for the good in people, and it was very easy to find boundless good in them. Second is “Actions speak louder than words.” They were never braggers or boasters, but instead they gave us all a clear Christian message by their daily conduct. I guess the one thing I best remember about them is the love they shared with us all.


Tim Richards

LEAN-TO

Worked real hard to build that camp.
Lean-to, cookstove, all of that.
Cut the trees down one by one.
Worked real hard ’til it was done.
Built the frame real good and strong–
Wanted it to last real long.
Covered it with Hemlock green–
Best looking thing I’ve ever seen.
Worked real hard ’til it was right.
Waited for that fateful night.
All us guys slept out that night,
Gave ourselves a real good fright,
Talked of all the snakes about–
Finally wound up in the house.

–Tugmutten


Randall, Diana, Stacy, and Jeremy Randolph

To the most lovable grandparents in the world:

We want to thank you and let you know how much we appreciate getting to live in your cellar house while we build our home. You are giving us the financial edge we need to accomplish our goal.

We also are enjoying getting to know you better and growing closer to you.

No matter how often you read these paragraphs, our love and appreciation will be thousands of times greater.


Christina Boyd Thorngate

Visits to Grandpa and Grandma’s are all memorable, but they’ve asked me to share only one.

The Bond Reunions have always been among my favorites. The one I remember the most was back when I was about 10 or 11 years old.

We were having our annual softball game, and Grandpa was in his usual position behind the plate calling balls and strikes. I was playing out on second base; and when the ball was hit, Uncle Bond came running toward me. I got the ball and just stood there ready to tag Uncle Bond out. He kept running toward me hoping to scare me, but I stood my ground and got him out. I heard Grandpa yell, “You’re outl” The next thing I knew, my Mom came up from behind me, picked me up and twirled me around, saying, “That’s my Chrissy! That’s my Chrissy!” Grandma just sat up on the hill, smiling and looking contented.

ALMOST HEAVEN

Almost Heaven, Grandma’s Kitchen,
Homemade bread and even homemade cookies.
Life is good there–better than my own–
With the smell of good bread always in the air.

Chorus:

Back Roads, Take me home,
To the place where I belong,
Grandma’s kitchen, Grandpa’s fishpond
Take me home, back roads.

All the fishes hate our dear Grandpa,
Even Grandma’s good homemade bread.
In the sun and even in the rain.
Grandpa’s always in his boat a’fishing all the time.

Chorus:

I hear Mom’s voice in the morning as she calls me.
The pancakes fryin’ remind me of my Grandma’s kitchen.
And lyin’ in the bed I get a taste
Of Grandma’s homemade bread, homemade bread.

Chorus:


Memories of Brothers and Sisters

Avis Swiger

Ashby, do you remember a trip we made to Uncle Waitie’s when we got a bucket of strawberries to take home? I recall two special things about it. I decided I had carried the berries long enough and told you to take them. As usual we disagreed (don’t brothers and sisters always), and I set the bucket down and walked on. You also walked on–and I can’t remember who went back after itl We came near to the station at–(I can’t remember the name of that train stop), and there was a snake by the path. I was perfectly willing to take the bucket while you killed the snake. My private thoughts were that I was being punished for my stubbornness about carrying the berries.

I am sure you haven’t forgotten the time I just missed your head with a salt shaker. You tormented me by flipping a towel at me. You didn’t often hit me, but just the idea of it really scared me. I called to Mama for help but didn’t get it, so I grabbed the first thing at hand and threw it. Our salt shakers had heavy leaded bottoms, and it would have knocked you out if you hadn’t ducked. I believe the incident helped both of us, for I don’t remember any more times you “flipped” me with a towel. I thought many nights about what could have been the result of my mad throwing.

In later years we were able to work together very well. I used to read aloud to you for our English assignments, and you did my work in the lab–cutting up the star fish, etc.


Orson H. Bond

Ash, I did not know you until you were well established in the family; but Ruth, I well remember your young days up to or near the mule days, which you and Main had an opportunity to enjoy that we older kids missed. However, Papa did save for me the first ride on the first mule raised on Crooked Run. It was my first and last ride on a mule. Main and I rode over to Beachlers.

Ruth, do you remember how you and Main helped me develop my arm muscles so I could compete with 0. B. doing chin-ups? Outdoing 0. B. was hard to come by. but when I could do the chin-ups with you hanging onto one leg and Main on the other, I was in the running for keeps.

How you did love to swing, more so than being rocked in a chair. Before you were a year old, we kids would put you in a swing. You liked to do your own hanging on–you always was sort of a “do it yourself” youngster anyhow. You required far less help than any of the eight kids, but a bit venturesome when alone.

I can still hear Mamma, Ada, and Lydia calling, “Ruth, where are you?” You were quite good about answering. If I am not mistaken, Papa was the one that taught you to answer when called after you had been a bit slow. Anyway, the answer would be, “Out here,” “Over here,” “Up here,” “Under here,” and sometimes “Down to the run.” No one liked that. What we did not know then was if you fell in you would crawl out. If you did not like it, once was enough. If you did like it–well, that is something else.

I guess the worst scare you ever gave us was on a windy day. Papa and I were making brooms. You perhaps can recall Papa did not like to make brooms on a good day. Anyway, by the time the third one joined the “Ruth, where are you?” Papa said, “Orson, you had better go see what’s the trouble.” When my “Ruth, where are you?” had no results, Papa joined the “Ruth, where are you?”s

From a tall white oak sapling that was a bit taller than the others in a clump of oaks down by the run, across the road from the corner of the lawn and garden, you had a clear view of what was going on between the broom shop and house, while the stiff wind swayed you to and fro. You had climbed to a position in the top and were living it up when Papa joined the “Ruth, where are you?”s

You thought it was about time to say, “Up here. Watch me swing.” Mamma was saying, “Mercy, mercy, don’t scare her.” In the softest tone Pape could muster, he asked if you didn’t think it was about time to come down. The tone of his voice and your urge to swing gave you an okay to say, “After one more swing!” One more was not according to Papa’s liking. But in your case it was fine. The question was how you ever got up there in the first place. Papa said, “She knows, and she can get down.” You did, by changing to trees you could reach until you got to the ground. Papa did not even say, “Don’t you ever do that again”; but instead, he did say, “If you want to climb trees, you had better have someone with you.”

It was not so long after that Papa changed from raising horses to mules, you may recall. Not that your tree climbing was the direct cause of changing from horses to mules. But it does show the changes that did take place during our growing-up period.


Ian H. Bond

My youngest sister, Ruth, was approximately 2 1/2 years younger than I. My earliest recollection of her was the day she was born. It seemed to me, in my immature and confused mind, that other members of the family and friends had been paying a great deal of attention to some object that was lying in bed with my mother, which I was curious to see. After much tugging on one of the more available members of the family, whose attention I was able to gain, probably Ada, I said in a quiet, pleading voice, “Let me see that cucumber.” Mamma heard me and said, “Let him see her.” I went to the side of the bed–there I saw Ruth. After I saw her, I still seemed confused that I was seeing a cucumber, and no one was about to tell me anything different.

She grew up to be a swinger and could swing continually from morning to nite. Later when we went to Salem College Academy, Ruth had pretty well caught up with me–classwise–that was a good thing, and I am grateful to her. She studied hard, and her grades were so good that the teachers would sometimes tell me I should be ashamed for letting my little sister beat me, and that usually had its proper effect.

My early memories of Ashby Randolph was that of a youthful, rugged boy scout, who loved the out of doors and the many mental and physical activities which scouting provided. He diligently developed his talents and became an expert swimmer among his contemporaries. In college he found time for football and gained a wellknown reputation as a lineman and opened many a hole for the Green and White running backs.


Main Bond

This is your life, Ruth:

Sabbath School class under the Oak Tree–memory verses–Uncle John, teacher.

First things first, and you were always first.

Grandpa taking us a horse-back ride. Went under a clothesline. You, being first, went under. The clothesline went under my chin.

Playing in the snow when we were supposed to be in the house. You made it to the house; I was caught at the yard gate.

Fishing at the Rhodes place. You pulling turtles out of the creek bank.

4-H poultry project. What a mess, ha!

Playing Rook at Harvey Heaveners.

The lost sheep at the Watson place. A buggy trip to Uncle Eddie’s. Supper!

Exercising the horses Sabbath afternoon.

Harvesting corn. From back of the house to the foot of the hill. Watermelons, and who grew them? Ruth, of course.

I may have remembered things I should have forgot. Forgot many things I should have remembered.

Maybe this is enough horsing around. So as the youngsters say now, KEEP ON TRUCKING!