Sep 8 2008
07:42 am
By: WhitesCreek

By Ray Collett

Hello Readers, This weeks E-Mailbag brought a letter from Barbara Hicks Mayfield Loyless (Class of 1955) commenting on the cave at the golf course. Here is what Barbara wrote, " I have been meaning to comment on Nancy Ingram and her desire to visit Back Cave. Her wish relates to my lifelong desire to go to Big Rock. Seems like I was not around or not healthy when people were making that climb. Guess I will have to make a quick visit when I get my wings, HA !

"Some of the information about the caves were least to me. The times that I visited the cave, we walked across the golf course. It was large, scary, and worth the hike. Several of the Pond Grove boys had crawled through to Front Cave which opened somewhere on Post Oak Road. Needless to say, I declined that opportunity."
" I mentioned the cave to Aubrey Cole, "Barbara wrote, "and was surprised to learn that he now owns that property. He said that he bought it years ago from John Kelly. Wonder if John owned it when we used to play around back there. I have not been in that area in years. I did realize that there were a number of new houses behind and around the golf course. Aubrey said that it was blocked off by private property with no public access."
"Sorry Nancy, guess that is another dream that will have to die."..Barbara Loyless
Thanks Barbara. I am surprised that anyone who grew up in Rockwood never made it to Big Rock. I know one thing, you can sure come down the mountain a lot quicker than you can climb up it.
Allen Long, (Class of 1951) sent an email also. Allen had this to say following Clyde Weatherford's story last week. " Last week's Rockwood Memories, while messy, was very exciting. Someone has said, "Confession is good for the soul, but poor for the reputation."
"It takes a brave person to tell an embarrassing story like that. I don't have an exciting story like that, but I do recall this experience. I grew up in the coal mines of Kentucky during WW II. I was the oldest and would go on errands and buy small amounts of groceries for my mother while my father was working in the coal mines. During WW II, we had ration books that enabled one to buy certain grocery items including meat. Around 1944, we lived in a small town named Sassafras. Our house was across a creek, (I thought it was a river then) and we walked across a "swinging bridge" to get to the small town. One cold winter day, I was coming back from town, and as I was part way across the bridge, the wind blew the ration books out of my hand and they settled into the water below. I knew I had to get them out or we would miss a lot of food. I went down to the creek side to see if I could find a pole that would reach out to the books but no luck. I did not know how deep the water was and no one was around to help. Very foolishly, I started wading out and after getting up to my waist, I was able to reach the ration books. My main thought had been to get the books and not how dangerous it could have been. I got home very wet and cold and told my mother the story. She was elated I was OK and very glad that I had retrieved the ration books and very carefully dried them out."
"Someone may ask the question of how we moved to a house on the other side of the creek, when one had to walk across a "swinging bridge." There was a "fjord" in a certain area where in the summertime, a truck could cross and the coal for heating the house was delivered in the summer when the creek was low. I also remember that in the wintertime, it would get so cold that the creek would freeze completely over and some people would drive cars on the frozen ice." Allen Long
Thanks for the email Allen, I was born in the coal mining area in Anderson County, (Moore's Coal Camp) and remember a "swinging bridge." While I miss the "good ole days," I sure don't miss those cold, cold winters. I guess the snows were deeper then because we were "shorter"...Reckon?
That about does it for this week's Rockwood Memories, hopefully another book will be out in a couple of months. If you would like to contribute a story or a recollection of growing up, send it to me and I will gladly include it....Until next week, Ray

Lost Medicaid Funding

To date, the failure to expand Medicaid / TennCare has cost the State of Tennessee ? in lost federal funding.