1928 - Alderson High School - 1968



Alex McLaughlin August 30, 2010

HITCHHIKING: Roger Bowyer and I used to hitch hike to Hinton for practice for the Pony League all star baseball team. I did not make the traveling squad. I never asked Rog if he made it. As was reported earlier in one of the posts in the Aldersonian, Mom would give me money to get a bus ticket to go to school up at Morgantown. I would get a ticket to Elkins and hitchhike from Elkins to Morgantown.

One summer I worked on a co-op program with the highway department at Lake Sherwood, on Route 92 north of White Sulphur Springs, on the way toward the Pocahontas County line. Our boss was Emmett Pinnell and the second in command was a gentleman from Ronceverte named Burns. Some days I could ride home all the way to Alderson with Emmett and other days I would ride to Ronceverte with the aforementioned Mr. Burns. On those days I would hitchhike the balance of the way from Ronceverte to Alderson. I do not want to leave the impression that I was unusually unique or daring in my hitch hiking endeavors. Everybody did it and we almost always got a ride. Rather I am attempting to dredge up shared memories of what may be common experiences to some readers. 

SECOND CAREERS: Now there are those that would say that often my imagination is out of control but I swear that my friend swears that this story is true. This fellow, let's call him Dolin, was always seeking out the perfect money making scheme. Most often he would succeed with modest to little success. But I think he was in it for the chase as much as the lucre. The scheme de jour at one point was that he purchased an old historic inn, restored it and established a new business.  

On of his friends was a medical doctor who had experienced some difficulty in billing the federal government for Medicaid and Medicare expenses that either weren't incurred or were padded beyond a reasonable level. It is the biggest irony in this world to me that the US federal government traditionally spends money like it is going out of style with apparently little or no accountability. At the same time there is nothing more menacing or threatening to any American than either “the feds are investigating improper use of federal funds” or that it is alleged that a perp "has lied to the feds”. Ask Martha Stewart. Well the feds surrounded and closed in on this country doctor. He was indicted, convicted and lost his license to practice medicine. 

Dolin felt sorry for the doctor who was a long time friend and hired him as a handy man for his newly resurrected historic inn. This gave the fellow some income and gave him the pride of going to work every day and working to earn his keep. Someone asked Dolin how the former doctor who had always worked as a respected professional did on this unskilled job and Dolin replied, “He is a wonderful worker but I have to let him work on the back part of the property away from the inn because in all the turmoil over losing his license the former doctor converted to nudism. It isn’t really appropriate in West Virginia to have him running around buck naked in the front of the patrons “Cross my heart that’s the story I was told and have some reason to believe.

THESPIANS AND NEOPHYTES: When I was in high school, those that participated in a number of plays could earn the distinguished title as a thespian. I never knew many thespians though Rick Hughes was always a very animated and emotive actor. He may actually have won that designation.

The term is almost never used anymore except when its core meaning has been sabotaged and with revisionist history has taken on a completely new meaning. Many of out main line protestant churches are now ordaining “thespians”. In a political race a candidate answered an unasked question by saying preemptively “there is absolutely no evidence that my opponent is a thespian “. Some of the voters turned away from his opponent because there was no way they were going to vote for a thespian.

There was another political campaign where one of the candidates attempted to question his opponents’ life style without actually saying so directly. He did so by referring to his opponent as a “neophyte”. Apparently a good number of the voters were appalled and incensed that this immoral shameless “neophyte” would actual have the gall to run for office.

I bring this up because there are a good number of people who always think that the voters should decide everything. In theory who can question this. In practice remember that the voters decided last time. Also there is a twinge of doubt in me when I am depending on voters who won’t vote for the thespian or won’t vote for the neophyte.