1928 - Alderson High School - 1968



Alex McLaughlin - February 13, 2012

I have been around dogs all my life . So I decided to write about some of them. The first dog story is about the dogs I had when I grew up. To give a little historical perspective I have included information on the dogs that were in the white house at the same time.

I grew up in the house on Maple Avenue in Alderson that had a back yard that at one time was used in part for a garden and in later times was used as ball field for football, baseball, kick the can or whatever game a child could imagine. But the main advantage of the yard was that it gave the dogs room to run around.

We had two collies both called Bruce. The first had a leg with partial paralysis. Dad said it was caused by distemper. I goggled distemper and found that it is a viral infection. Although a vaccine has been discovered for the virus, it remains a major cause of diseases in dogs until today. Both dogs were my inseparable companions growing up. The Bruce with distemper passed away as I recall because of the ravages of the disease. The second Bruce passed away under suspicious conditions. There was some suspicion that the dog may have been poisoned because he was a continuous barker. But I was told to never say anything about those suspicions.

Below is a picture of a collie. This is not an actual picture of one of the Bruces, but it is what they looked like.

We had a fenced yard and Betty Alderson who still owns and run Alderson's store recalls walking by the house on the way to school and she would see me and Bruce running back and forth in the yard. I can still see the rut by the fence where the dog would run chasing and barking at walkers, neighbors, and the few cars that would pass by back then. When the weather started turning warmer boys would skip school and head out for the river. It was harder fro me because Dad taught at the high school and being a small town and such he would be able to figure out if I skipped or not. One year I had the perfect way to skip school. As I was walking down from the school towards the river, my dream turned into a nightmare. Here came Dad heading the other direction. He asked, "Where are you going boy?". I had heard dad talking the night before about taking Bruce to the vet to get him caught up on his vaccination. I responded that I was going home to get Bruce to take him for his vaccinations. I got some points for turning a sure disaster into a good deed. I never did skip school.

Dwight Eisenhower was the president for most of the period I was growing up . He was one of the few war heroes during the last hundred years or so that became the nation's leader Earlier in our history it was more common that a presidential candidate was a war hero or had at least served.In the Romans Empire it was essential. Ike was quoted as saying ,"Anybody that runs for President is either an ego maniac or crazy". Below is Ike with his dog.


 A tiny dog, Heidi was Dwight Eisenhower's trusty Weimaraner, shown here accompanying the President back to the White House after a March 11, 1959 press conference at the Executive Office Building, now named in Eisenhower's honor. The President and his dog were photographed together often during his time in office and similar ones can be found in books or documentaries.

THE KENNEDY YEARS When I was a junior in high school, John F Kennedy came to Alderson around April or May of 1960 when he was running for the Democratic party nomination. I had to go to the dentist that day and missed John Kennedy's speech. But when I asked about Kennedy's speech that day ,people talked about the emcee,A James Manchin more that they did John Kennedy. A James the uncle of US Senator Joe Manchin was always a colorful and controversial state political character Early in his career he taught at Rupert High School on the west end of the county. Dad was President of the coach's association of the Greenbrier County Schools. A James came to dad and asked him if the Rupert wrestling team which he coached could get a trophy for the county wrestling champion. Dad said "Jim I can't do that you had a team but it was the only team in the conference and they didn't wrestle in any matches this year". Jim said something like," Abe we were undefeated'. Jim later got a federal job for his support in getting Kennedy elected.

John Kennedy's family had money. He reportedly didn't get his first job until later in life. He told a senior family adviser that he was so excited that he was going to be starting his first job. The adviser replied, "Don't worry son you have never missed anything."

Below is a picture of the Kennedy with their dog, Pushinka.

The dog was received as a gift from Nikita Khrushchev. Despite the unsavory source, however, all indications were that Pushinka was a good dog, and she gave birth to several puppies who hung around with the Kennedy's for a number of years

EPILOG Politicians love having picture taken of their dogs, kissing babies and doing photo opportunities at churches. But there is some small chance that they really like the dogs. Maybe like the rest of some, they look forward to coming home to a pet that is always happy to see them and is not looking for political favors.

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