1928 - Alderson High School - 1968


Alex McLaughlin February 5, 2010

The trees were leafing. I thought good grieving. I would run to Rock Bar to get in shape. I would eat the mysterious wonder food Lasagna that I heard about on the radio in the hopes of picking up 15 pounds for football season.  Carbo loading. Carbs were good then. I guess not now. Except the night before a distance race. I never actually ate Lasagna till later. I am still wondering what was so wonderful about it.

My aunts in Florida would tease Dad about the first time he heard about pizza pie and he wanted to put ice cream on it. I would let the little slinky go up and down the steps. I would dribble the basketball up and down the steps.  I would play with Bruce our collie every day.  I would go up the street a couple of houses to Martha Fulks’ house to see the first TV programs. I would later give blood with her on 9/11 at the Red Cross center in South Charleston. I would listen to Jerry West and WVU on the radio. I remember when West Virginia lost in the national championship to California by one point.

I remember when we lost the state championship to Winfield when they scored late in the game to beat us by six points. When Rick and Allan and I played our last home basketball game against Johnny Swan from White Sulphur.  We could not miss that night and all the possibilities were finally realized when we beat them by about 20 points.  I remember vividly where I was when John Kennedy was killed, when Elvis died, and when I heard about 9/11. I remember when my soccer team lost in the state semifinals at Beckley on a penalty kick in overtime.  I would take the alfalfa from the field and put it in the barn. I would walk to school and walk downtown. I stayed on the Greenbrier side except to deliver papers or go to the town hall or the Lemons’ for parties. Our sophomore girls dated the seniors.

My greatest fear then and now was that I would get caught in the underwater opening that I heard was in anvil rock. I never tried to go through it as a boy and I have no interest in overcoming my fears now. The hot dogs were so good at the Snack Shack. In the 50s Larry Burns from Smoot would stand out by the road at Sam Black on Route 60 and wave to the cars. Now occasionally he stands on the street corner at the intersection of Route 60 and Route 219   in Lewisburg and looks at traffic driving by.  

I would become a novelist. I only got so far as to pick out my penname, Olin Price. I also had a name picked out for the novel but it now escapes me. It would be a story about heroic ventures in war time. I actually went to war in Viet Nam and it was not adventuresome. It actually was pretty bad and I wasn’t even on the front line. I remember returning form Viet Nam and there was a chilly welcome from the people back home. Were we lepers or was I paranoid? I remember the Iranians parading our embassy people around with blindfolds on. And the rescue choppers that were to rescue the hostages getting bogged down in sands of Iran. I was so mad that I called the White House to complain about our incompetence. Thank goodness they didn’t have caller ID. If I need to call or email now to express my views, I use some alias other than Olin Price. Finally I remember the Palestinians dancing in the streets on 9/11. 

I remember after the first football game I played I was so sore and so proud of my aches and I recall I went to the stock yards to work the next day. The hardest I was ever hit in a football game was when we ran out on to the field at our field one night and Julius "Jube” Eary came over to me and said “come on redbrick let’s get fired up" and to motivate himself he hit me as hard as I have ever been hit in my life. I remember when Rick Hughes would run around with weights on his feet to get stronger to jump higher. Tree Galloway coaching our Babe Ruth games at Ronceverte Island. Ed Sims who played left field and made some great catches. He would take off at the crack of the bat and run like a bat, no pun, out of hell. But not always in the right direction.  Or the horrible shame when we would go into the huddle before the basketball game at Lewisburg High School and my cousin June Price McLaughlin who was  cheerleader for Lewisburg High School would holler out at the quietest moment of the night, “ Oh little Alex, you-hoo”. In the family Dad was always big Alex.  I still see some of the players from that team; Sam and Jerry Banton and Wayne "WoWo" Quick when I go to Lewisburg.