It’s What’s Inside and What Happens Between You

Patrick begins this 2011 recording with thoughts of how to tell his life story and finishes with the way his mom encountered her husband’s mistress. A maroon 1946 Ford is also mentioned.

Patrick: I start telling what… let’s see…. If grandchildren were interested… I’d start telling from the first thing I can remember, and then if there are questions along the way, answer them. Otherwise I’m sort of like…. Well, I could do that. I keep thinking I was going to write it down. I start it off, then I get… mmmmmm….

JP: It’s easy to…. And the same is true about conversation. You wander unto uncharted territory sometimes but…

Patrick: You know I’ve thought of several ways of…. One, of all the houses I’ve ever lived in. That’s one way to go. All the neighbors I can remember, that’s another way to go. All the cars I have owned, that’s another way to do it. Yea.

JP: I’ve always measured time by who I was with at the time.

Patrick: Yeah?

JP: And what rallies I have competed in, or what races I went to, but that only goes back to 1988.

Patrick: Yep! Red Star, West Virginia is where my mother and father were living when I was born. It’s a town about the size of my house.

JP: Room for four!

Patrick: Mom sent me an article in a newspaper two years before she died. It’s about that house, which is now considered a haunted house, on the side of a hill, with a red star. It’s very near where my grandfather was… ah….. He worked for the railroad. In his job he had a long ball peen hammer. You walk up on one side of the train and tap every wheel. If it goes “clunk” it’s a dead wheel. If it’s “ping” you keep going.

Patrick: The name of that little town always slips me, but we went there, Stephanie and I went there, right there on the river. There was a church in that little town that my grandfather set up. When I went there years ago there was still a mural, a painted mural, that my father had done of the town when he was a young man. [Years later] We tried to get in when Jack and Sue and I went there, and that mural is not there anymore. It was a painted and drawn on paper, I think. Might not have lasted.

Patrick: I remember when I was there, I guess it was in the sixties, Where the hell was I? Red Star… my father had walk ten miles to work, carrying a tool kit. He said it was ten miles but I looked it up the other day. It doesn’t look like ten miles. I think it’s more like three!

JP: Maybe it felt like ten.

Patrick: Especially in the middle of the winter. He was making forms for the… you know the cement highways during the WPA works projects.

Patrick: So, I was born in the Oak Hill Hospital actually, although they lived in Red Star.

JP: Were Jack and Sue also born in that same hospital?

Patrick: Don’t know…. probably. Dr. Puckett.

JP: And the family left West Virginia when you were sixteen to follow his, his affair?

Patrick: Well, everybody was leaving… for work, because after the war the coal mines were losing… and the building industry was dying.

Patrick: Building… for a company, the Oak Hill Lumber Company, he was the foreman. And no more work. It still got the same population right now as it was when we left, about 400.

Patrick: So, we left… First one of his brothers went down as a plumber to Winter Park, Florida. And then another brother went down, he was an electrician. And then my father went down…

JP: Carpenter

Patrick: As a carpenter. They all got into that industry. And Grandfather had been going for years to Kissimmee, because he had a free pass from the railroad.

JP: I thought that you had told me or maybe it was Little Grandmother who told me that, that he had, you know, he had a woman on the side….

Patrick: He took a woman down with him before he took us down.

JP: Okay.

Patrick: But on the lake, she lived on the Lake Viola. I went there with mom who went in the house and slapped her face and got out. She came running off that porch, crying, and zoomed off in a ’46 Ford, maroon.

JP: Oh wow!

Patrick: I never saw the woman, but mom said “No, not even pretty. She looked ugly.” Of course, that’s not what people go by.

JP: That’s right.

Patrick: It’s what’s inside and what happens between you.

Recorded 16 Nov 2011 on Mallorca in Spain. 111116-163816-growing-up-in-wva.mp3 transcribed by Chantal.