I grew up in a place called bad bottom. It's just outside of Dunbar WV. And lay in a bottom between Dunbar and Institute. The bad part came from the bottom being mostly black people. You have to keep in mind this was the 1960's, and Dunbar is predominately a white town. Being white myself, I was looked upon differently from the white girls in Dunbar. I had family and friends there, my friends were both black, and white. I know my Mom made no difference of the color of the skin, and everyone loved her.
I was the youngest of 4 sisters, the shortest and the only one with blonde hair in the family. Mom had dark hair, Dad had red hair. I had two sisters with red hair and one with dark hair. I always had to live in the shadow of my sister next to me. She was popular and had the most gorgeous long thick red; I mean reddest hair you ever saw. I heard "Oh you Janet's sister", or "why you don't have hair like your sister's?" I'll tell you why, I did have long thick blonde hair till I took a trip to Florida with my older sister Nancy. She and her husband took Janet and me with them one year. We were in the back of a Mustang, not a lot of room. On the way back home I fell asleep with a wad of gum in my mouth. When I woke up it was all in my hair and had it twisted in a knot and stuck to my face! I will never forget it; it was the year I was going into Jr. High School. My Mom cut it off at my ears, I thought I would die. It was horrible. That and the black girls in my class didn't like it I guess, they kept pulling it out after school by the hands full and left me with knots in my head. I was pretty mean and they didn't go unscathed.
It wasn't all bad; honestly I loved growing up there. We were out of city limits, so we could have fires and roast wieners and marshmallows. In the winter my Mom and Mildred my 2nd Mom and best friend's Mom were always having fun with us. They would go sleigh riding with us. We had a fire to keep warm and hot cocoa. It was great. There were lots of trees to climb. I loved climbing trees, and was quite good at it. We had an old man, Mr. Kassel at the end of my road that had Horse. We could ride them and get buggy rides too. He also had a place where he put on shows. He kept the horses in a field across from my house. We could stay out longer and sleep outside too sometimes. Well not literally outside. We had a building in the back yard and Mom let us stay in it in the summer. She also kept a big churn she made her pickled corn in and we peed in it. She said thatís what made it so good. I can remember Dad who liked drinking beer, trying to make homebrew in it once. BOOOOOOOOM BOOM. I never heard such a racket! Everybody but Dad thought it was kind of funny. I have lots of great memories from there that I couldn't have gotten anywhere else.