Dear West Virginia

One Man's Dream

“One Man’s Dream” by Cheryl Tarrant. Used with permission.

This post is for anyone who has left home. I don’t mean to go to the grocery store or even for vacation. This is for folks who have packed their possessions, hugged their mammas and daddies, and pulled away from the curb with their cheeks wet and their eyes on the road because if they glance in the rearview mirror, they might not go. It’s for those who bookmark their hometown newspapers and like their native accents. It’s for the homesick, the diehards, people who would charter a plane or ride a mule, whatever it takes to go home at the holidays. This post is a love letter like no other. It comes from Jason Headley, today’s guest blogger.

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Dear West Virginia,

I suppose this has been a long time coming. Looking back, it must have seemed abrupt. Twenty-two years we spent together, then I up and left with no real explanation. I probably owed you more than that. So I’ll try my best to explain it to you now.

We were perfect together at first, weren’t we? As a boy, I couldn’t have asked for a better playmate. Your hills and trees, your railroad tracks, rivers, and run-down factories. You could have killed me a dozen times, at least. I seemed to be asking for it. I was rough on you, but you gave as good as you got. My blood in your soil, your splinters and gravel under my skin. This is how we did it, becoming more and more of one another every single day.

I drew your initials in my notebooks in the sharp angles of the university logo. They weren’t just letters. They were you. I wore blue and gold, but those weren’t your only colors. You were green and white, too. Just like my Paden City Wildcats. You were orange and yellow and red, your hillsides alight with fire every autumn. You were the purple of the Ohio River, the sun’s last rays drawn deep. You were black, a night sky as endless as my imagination.

You were everything to me. My mom and my dad. My brother and my grandparents. My home and my school. All of my very first firsts. It was perfect while it lasted.

I wish I could tell you when things changed. That I could point to one moment. Maybe the first time I saw the ocean, standing there with my pant legs hiked to my knees, staring at the end of the earth. Maybe it was something I saw on television: a bionic man, a talking car, a chimpanzee sidekick, a girl in her underwear. Maybe it was the books, one of the stories that seemed so wild and strange and far beyond anything I could ever imagine happening while surrounded by the steadfastness of you.

That might be part of it. I knew, as sure as I knew anything, that you were never going to change. You’d spent lifetimes building mountains from flat, solid ground. You’d grown forests, had them taken from you, and grown them again. You were strong, stalwart, and set in the ways that worked for you. But I slowly began to realize they wouldn’t work for me.

I can’t actually think of a time beyond boyhood when I thought I was going to stay. It’s strange. Ungrateful, I suppose. You were the only thing I knew and somehow you weren’t enough. But my interests and ambitions grew beyond any realistic expectations. Far beyond the reach of your panhandles. And I suppose that changes a relationship forever.

The question is, did I begin to stand out because I knew I was going to leave? Or did I know I was going to leave because I was beginning to stand out? I fished your streams, but with little frequency and even less success. Friends and family stalked your forests for hours in the hope of bringing home deer, quail, squirrel. The interest never took with me. But there were bigger things. Ideals I didn’t recognize, some old-fashioned, some simply old. Disagreement with common-held beliefs. Those I saw as wrong-headed, and those I knew were just plain wrong. All of that combined to leave me somewhere in between. There, but not.

I know your state bird, your state flower, your state tree, your state animal. I know your state fish, for crying out loud. Every fiber of my being was forged, formed, and intricately woven by the experience of growing up with you: my basic values, my ingrained suspicions, my belief that good things can always happen to you, but don’t hold your breath.

You see, I’ve never had a problem being from West Virginia. I just had some difficulty being in West Virginia.

Still, now, the places we knew together are like songs to me. Just the names bring a flood of memories: Dolly Sods, Canaan Valley, Oil Ridge, Buck Run, Bickles Knob. And then the places that had no real title: the rope swing on the north end of town, the outfield of the far baseball diamond, the attic of my best friend’s house, and, of course, the few square feet of my bedroom. I papered those walls with dreams. That town. I sought your best places and poured endless meaning into some of your most ordinary corners. I did all of this, day after day, for over eight thousand days. And then, one day, it was time to go.

You probably didn’t see it, because my back was to you as I drove, but I cried when I left. And not just because I was in Kentucky. I cried because I missed you already. I cried because I’d never been away from you for longer than two weeks. I cried because I was afraid. Because if I wasn’t a West Virginian, then what was I?

I had a tape recorder on the front seat to capture thoughts as I drove, alone, toward a new life. This is what I said as I left you behind: “If California is half as good to me as West Virginia has been, I’m going to be in pretty good shape.”

And I was right. But a dozen years here has taught me just how wrong I was about something else. I never stopped being a West Virginian. There are some things that can’t be undone. Not by all the gods in all the heavens. Geography be damned.

The other day someone wrote to me and said, “I’ll be coming to your state next week.” And I thought, “I wonder why he’s going to West Virginia?” He wasn’t. He was coming to California. But I still, in my marrow, think of you as “my state.” I only hope you still think of me as your son.

I have grandparents and great-grandparents buried in your ground. I have family living in the curves of your hills. I have pieces of me scattered all across your land. And I have the best parts of you locked here in my heart.

Maybe that’s not enough. Maybe all these words can never explain away what I did. Maybe abandonment is too great a sin to be absolved. Maybe. But I like to think not.

I like to think all your countless years have given you unbridled understanding, the likes of which I’ll never understand. That on a cold autumn night when the air smells like burning leaves and small town football, you miss me a little, too. I like to think that when I come home, you’re as happy to see me as I am you. And that the few days we get to spend together each year are like a gift, a time machine. Proof that old friends never fade.

That’s what I like to think.

Forever yours,
Jason

Jason Headley tells stories.

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640 Comments

  • Joshua Trent Neff

    I just got this forwarded to me from a compassionate and dear old friend of mine when I lived in Boca Grande, Fl. You have obviously met him for he now lives in SF. You may not remember me personally for I was still in the old middle school when you graduated. I can’t relate to your story very well for I left for culinary school 2 weeks after I graduated from Paden City High School in 1996. I ended up working out of New Orleans on the American & Mississippi Queen steamboats for an externship! After paying a visit to about every bar on the Mississippi and Ohio rivers I found myself back home in good ole West Virginia! I never looked at it as leaving when I went to college and to work at such a young age but I was drawn back in when I landed a job as a chef at the greenbrier resort in white sulfur springs, which was my new home, atop gillespies flower shop. As winter came I ventured down to Florida to work the off seasons for 2 years! Somehow in the mix of it all I ended up being a welder out of local 667 Winfield Wv! 14 years now in the trade of which I spent the last two in northern Alberta, Canada. I’ve been off work since December but fly back to no mans land this week for work again! I enjoyed your story Jason and I hope all is well! Best wishes

  • Janet Keith

    …reflections of “Back Home” — West Virgina
    Empty lots, abandoned buildings
    weathered signs predate the crash.
    Modest homes reflect the struggles
    as I make my way back home

    Time moves on and buildings crumble;
    nature makes her presence known.
    Reclaiming with her vibrant colors,
    abundant with what tempts the soul.

    Man presumes to be creative,
    pride in structures meant to last.
    Nature trumps, but is forgiving;
    returning, overshadows loss.

    What is this power so prevailing,
    gently leading back to source?
    The love of beauty had endeared me,
    as I make my way back home.

  • chris murdock

    This was EXACTLY as I left February 14, 2014 at 4:30 am west bound for Salt Lake City UT. As it poured the rain I cried my eyes out while I was driving that short stretch of road between Charleston and Huntington I-64. I’ve been in Salt Lake for a month and still not sure how I feel about it yet. This is an awesome article, thank you!

  • Donna Russell

    Your words are perfect for anyone who grew up in West Virginia and had to leave to find work. My family and I moved to St. Louis, Missouri in 1997. I’ll never forget pulling out of my parents driveway after dropping off the parishables from my refridgerator and heading west. I wanted to cry so badly, but my Mom said—“no tears, you’re only a phone call away”. That may be true, but the phone doesn’t get to see the trees, the mountains, the Ohio River. It doesn’t get to hear the sound of a train at 11 PM, the engines of a barge as it makes it’s way on the river. It can’t share your friends trials and joys as you did when you lived within 5 miles of each other. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve grown to love Missouri, but home will always be in West Virginia.

  • Carol Thomas

    I never realized how much I loved west Virginia until I was raising a family in Michigan . Then vacations home to parsons each year was more and more important. I cant write it like you do but as I read your article I am crying. West Virginia is my life. Where I grew up. Where all my family is and where I am slowly bringing all my family. All if the state is my heritage. We are all wvu fans, go to the games. We are local people with strong ties in parsons. Every day I give thanks for the beautiful place I live. The river that runs a few feet from my house. I love to go to the ocean but love to come home and more and more I don’t want to leave. I am home and I am so happy.

  • Sharon Marshall

    I enjoyed reading this story. I wil always remember the day I got married, and moved away from WV. Now, 30 odd yrs later (and divorced), however finding a great man…Here I am living in WV again. WV is still as I left it, and many of the old hometown favorites are still they same. I have to say that no matter where we travel, or where we live, WV has always been “home”.

    We just passed thru Paden City on Tuesday and its as if time stood still. Looks just as it did when I would go to school events there, more yrs ago than I care to think about. Thank you for sharing your story.

  • Lou

    Thank you so much for this wonderful story! It is mine as well. I left WV after I graduated from WVIT. I have been fortunate to travel around the world. It is not unusual to be in Europe and hear a street musician play “Take Me Home Country Roads”–and so I did in my heart. I return several times every year as my family is still there. Even though I live in Virginia now, It will always be home.

  • Gena Nuckles-Littlefield

    As I sat at my desk and read this artical it was September 28, 1985 all over again. The day I left home. In my minds eye I can till see my little chevy chevette packed full with everthing I owned following my husband to New Hampshire. You so elegantly put my thoughts and feelings into words. I go home every year to visit my family and friends and I still get exicited when I cross the West Virginia line and deep in my heart is the hope that some day I’ll come home for good. When asked where I am from I proudly tell them I from West Virginia then I proceed to tell them no not Virginia, West Virginia and tell them all about my home. Thank you!!! for the great article

  • Denise

    HOME is West Virginia…..always will be and always has been….it’s where we buried my infant daughter because that’s where my family cemetery is! I live in SC, it’s been good to me and I appreciate and love the people, but my roots are planted deep in the rich dirt of WEST VIRGINIA, OH THOSE HILLS, THOSE BEAUTIFUL HILLS……. <3 WV forever!!

  • Peggy Broderick

    I was born and raised in wva I love Pocahontas co.would love to have an a frame thereto live and die in .i live in ohio but visit wv 5-6 times a year I love cannan valley,love snow ,the flowers a spring water it’s just home .you always go back there ,I love wv.

  • Tamela

    Beautifully expressed. Although not from your beautiful state, I found my brain inserting words that made the story fit my childhood home. The basic story is one familiar to so many.

  • Jodi A Terek

    Beautifully wriiten, I too am from West Virginia, Paden City at that, I grew up there, and am so sad (to this day) that I didn’t get the chance to raise My children there!!!

  • Nancy Lowery

    When we left in 1986, I had to pull my son’s hands from our chain link fence. None of us wanted to leave but there was no work.

  • Evelyn James

    We were a close knit family in the Hollow of Nolan WVA. I was even named after my neighbor. We had to leave for the same reasons most of us had to leave. No work. I left with my family when I was just nine and a-half years old with my mom and dad to OH for them to find work. We never sold our house so we came home every summer and eventually my mom and dad moved back in 1975. They have since gone on with the Lord and are buried at the memorial garden in mayor which some day is where I too will be laid to rest. WVA will always be back home to me. It is where I learned the importance of family, neighbors and God. The road took our home on route 52 and the neighbors dispersed but I still keep in touch with many of them. I have a few cousins I come down to visit. And usually come down for my older sisters high school reunions. I too have cried many tears leaving my family and friends there so I understand all the above comments. I do sometimes wonder what our lives would have been like if none of us had to leave. My sisters are in NY, LA, TX and all of us love going home. It’s not the same without mom and dad but we enjoy our time with our cousins and friends and each other when we go there to visit. We love the hills and visit every place we can that time allows. I thank you all for writing your stories, after all these years its nice to know I am not the only one who misses their home of long ago and the loved ones either family or friends who are no longer there and am so thankful for the ones who are still there. With much heart felt love, Nolan girl from post office hollow.

  • Emmitt L Ross

    I am a first time reader and can relate to these testimonies of leaving, returning and leaving again. I love and live in Wayne County, West Virginia where I was born and raised on Brush Creek Road. The East Lynn Dam took all those homes in the hollows of Brush Creek, Lick Creek, Laurel Creek, Rich Creek and so on, but we are still near our roots where I shall abide ’til death, Lord willing. I, also, am an author with an ebook on Kindle at Amazon.com., titled “Brush Creek Adventures” a poetic work of humor, written with our Appalachian American Accent, that tells of the times we lived on Brush Creek and how the Lord moves in people’s lives, sometimes without their knowledge, but always, for their good. If you get a chance, check it out and let me know what you think. I really enjoyed the passion that was so displayed in the above story. Only a heart of true love, can write with the ring of truth and sincerity. Our lives here are sometimes hard. guess that why we love so deep. These old hills are ancient and God has passed over them many times and in many ways. The loneliest I’ve ever been, was when I was away from them and Him. Sincerely,

    Emmitt L Ross

  • Kenneth H. Dice

    Almost Heaven,I’ve heard this term that describes our beautiful State many times,but it has a different meaning after having lived here.As a young Man getting out of school and wanting to see this big World I traveled to Washington DC our Nations Capitol to find my place in life.Although life there was very good,I still yearned for Home and that some day I would return.Little did I know that I would meet the Girl of my life here in the big City,a West Virginia Girl.After being Married 3 years and expecting our first Child,we decided to return to West Virginia,My Profession soon became the Trucking Industry because of so few jobs,Having been in that profession for apx.40 years and traveling all across our Great Country and seeing it’s many beautiful spots,I retired and enjoy the peace and comfort of the Freedoms of Country life.I’ve seen much of this Country plus two Providences of Canada,but nothing still shares the meaning and Beauty of my Home State west Virginia.I still own two small Farms overlooking Spruce Knob the highest point and love to just walk on a sunny warm day and reminess of days gone by when still a boy with big dreams and a desire to see all Gods Beauty.Now after 53 years and now returned to my old home place,I must say I’m proud of my Journeys but none compare to Almost Heaven West Virginia.

  • Sandra DeBrill

    I left WV almost 40 years ago, but always manage to get back every now and then. I love “WEST BY GOD” a saying that always makes me “smile”…I’m from McDowell county….still proud to be a country girl from the holler…..
    Sandra DeBrill

  • Catherine Spence

    This was reprinted a few years ago in the Roanoke Times; my mom cut it out and saved it for me. Whenever I get homesick or think of the word “home” it’s always West Virginia that comes to my mind. The odd thing is that I have never actually lived there. My mom was born and raised in Tucker County; in fact, my great-great grandfather owned the mountain where the Canaan Valley Ski Resort now stands. I have a lot of relatives who still live in that area, but I have never lived there myself. The place is just in my blood, I guess. To me it is home and always will be.

  • Chester

    I seldom leave comments, however i did some searching and wound up here Dear West Virginia
    | The Revivalist. And I actually do have a couple
    of questions for you if it’s allright. Could it be simply me or does it look
    like some of the comments look like written by brain dead folks?
    :-P And, if you are writing at additional online sites, I’d like to keep
    up with everything new you have to post. Would you make a list of the
    complete urls of your communal pages like your twitter feed,
    Facebook page or linkedin profile?

  • Zac

    Love the essay. Born and raised in Cross Lanes but I live in Shanghai, China now and only get home once a year. Having met people from all over the world I can honestly say Americans like being Americans more than any other nationality and West Virginian’s like being West Virginian’s more than any other state. From time to time I’ll have friends or coworkers ask me why I like it so much or why I am so attached. As I try to explain it, I know the words I’m saying dont carry the feelings I have for WV. Its so hard to put into words and usually ends with a polite way of saying you just wouldn’t understand.

  • John

    I left in 1984, a week after graduating from WVU. I settled in Atlanta, a short drive from the north Georgia mountains where I spend as much time as possible. I know it’s all Appalachia, but it’s not the same as my beloved hills of West Virginia. We are going back in a few weeks for vacation, The Cranberry Wilderness and the New River Gorge before a few days with family in Huntington. I can’t wait! Take me home, Country Roads!

  • Mark

    I find something new and wonderful in this essay every time I read it.

  • Milissa

    I had to leave too, but not to far just to Virginia. There is just no work in my field. I feel guilty for contributing to the brain drain of West Virginia. Currently I am researching Scot-Irish traditions to hand down to my children.

  • Ruby Fields

    West Virginia my Home Sweet Home, it never gets old and I never tire of her, her beauty uncompared oh how I miss her sometimes. Jason; your words ring so true with me because as a girl of eighteen, I too left my forever homill visit her and oh the e. Your life as you painted it could have been mine. A girl yes, but I always loved the hills climbing, grapevine swings and all. At eighteen and just graduated, I felt I had to leave, there was something drawing me out, outside of those hills. I packed my clothes and left for Ohio where I would live for 32 years. Married and raising my family until the day I could return, but it wouldn’t be to West Virginia. Kentucky is where I now reside because my husband had the same feelings about his homeland as I do and where he resides there I shall also. I still visit her and oh the love that I feel when I cross that Ohio River, my heart almost burst at times. I never tire of her beauty! As you said I also say; Forever yours,(W.Va.) Ruby

  • www.mysitesdown.com

    Thanks for a marvelous posting! I seriously enjoyed reading it, you might be a great
    author. I will remember to bookmark your blog and will eventually come back sometime soon.
    I want to encourage you to continue your great job, have a
    nice morning!

  • Lori

    Thankyou for this story. I feel this way everyday about my home. I’m a WV girl stuck in a Fl world.

  • Gayle Byers

    I feel the total opposite, Thank you. I have always loved Pittsburgh PA., not WV.I am trapped and smothered here. I miss what WV has never been able to offer.

  • Dawn Lopez

    I am so glad this post made it’s way to me. I was raised in the foothills of the Appalachians, deep in the hills of Calhoun County. I had no electric, no running water,(in the 70s-80s). My siblings and I learned the value of hard work there and developed a deep appreciation for unadulterated nature. We all have grown into our own successes and have moved away from Calhoun County. I live just outside of Washington DC.We jointly still own the land that we grew up on and return there often for an “off the grid’ vacation. No matter where you are in the world, you are always a WVian.

  • BLACKSVILLE WV

    I am from Monongalia County! My home is Blacksville, West Virginia (town of the Clay-Battelle Cee Bees :)! No matter where my life takes me, West Virginia will always be my home! Wonderful story!!! I enjoyed it so much! It brought tears to my eyes!

  • Nicholas

    I am living outside WV for the first time in my life I am 25 I am constantly homesick but I know I am starting off to bigger and better things. Being outside WV let’s me spread my wings but living in WV for 25 years lets me know that I am a simple young man that bleeds blue and gold.

  • Donnie Thompson

    Count me in; West Virginia will always be “HOME” regardless of where I travel. I have lived by the pink beaches of Bermuda; the back country of Hawaii; the mountains of Turkey; the sands of Egypt; and multitudes of other places Italy, Greece, Caribbean, Mexico; Florida; but West Virginia is where I would rather be. Wonderful people; beautiful mountains; lush forest; clear rivers.

  • Amy Barela

    I love this! I didn’t think I would miss it at all when we first left, but as soon as we hit NC on our way to SC it hit me, I was leaving the past 35 years of my life behind in WV. I have BDT on my laptop, WVVA on facebook, and Bluefield still listed on my weather channel app on my phone. It is beautiful here but it’s not the mountain state.

  • Irene Shreve

    I loved reading everyones comments. WV has always been my home, and will always be my home. I love it and have no desire to ever leave it. I hate to even travel out of state, can’t wait to get back to the place I love. I know many people had to leave because of work, but I just thank God that I didn’t and have been able to raise my children here and now my grandchildren. It is just a little bit of Heaven….especially in the Autumn when all the trees change to their majestic colors and the sky is so clear and blue, and the air is so fresh…..what else could you ask for…..Love West Virginia!

  • Jim Owen

    Wonderful, great job Jason. Princeton is my home town, lots of family still there and I cherish each visit I can make back home. I didn’t leave there until I was 31 and I had a very successful real estate and auction business had gone through a divorce remarried and had always said I would never ever leave WV and once got upset with people who said they had to leave to make a living. An agent of mine said he was going to start his own firm and I said I’ll make it easy and sell you mine. I really hadn’t been thinking about that at all but was toying with the idea it would be nice to live in the Carolina’s. He bought I sold out everything and off the Carolinas I went ended up in Myrtle Beach and loved it. Another D and I eventually met the lady I was meant to marry down in Florida while meeting with her boss to do business with him. Funny we were having a hard time reaching an agreement went to lunch he ask where I lived, I said Georgia but my home’s West Virginia, turns out he was great friends with an attorney from my home town I’d done lots of business with, that sealed the deal. 2 years later I married his secretary and shortly after we were off to Dallas TX and I’ve now lived in Texas longer than I did in WV but I still say feel and know my home is WV. When I see beautiful pictures posted of WV I get very homesick. I love those mountains I love the people there it’s home but it’s not the home I knew. I took my wife there for the first time gave her the tour and said what do you think? She said I don’t see how you ever lived here! Well she’s a Florida flatlander so what does she know. I realized I saw everything there differently than she, I saw memories everywhere I looked. It didn’t take long before she started appreciating it, my 2 sons love it there my youngest when he was in his late teens described it as the most peaceful relaxing place he’d ever been. When I go and see the decay, the obvious folks who are no stranger to alcohol and drugs hanging about on the main street it makes me want to cry our downtown was once bustling and busy and there is a huge movement now to renovate and restore and I sure hope they do. Employment is needed so badly, there is a war on coal which was once drove the economy and did a very good job of it. I live in the country 50 miles north of downtown Dallas but only about 30 minutes away from the now prime shopping, employment, dining areas of Frisco TX everything is moving north rapidly the economy here is booming. Yet the pull of the mountains are very strong for me, I’m nearly 65 already had a heart attack that nearly took my life so maybe the mountains are calling me home for my final years. So many people want out of the cities out of the high cost of living, so many can operate businesses from their homes, high tech businesses are looking for nice rural type locations. West Virginia is doing a good job promoting itself but so much more is needed to attract the employment that will train and put the young people to work . I wish I had the magic wand to wave and make it all better but I do know so many people have moved to WV and they immediately know they are home and never want to leave. I rode my motorcycle home this past May ended up putting 3,000 miles on in 10-days. When I entered Virginia on I-81 I felt like I was home because I love that area and that drive all the way into Princeton. I rode around on the familiar back roads around Princeton and I loved every mile. I have so many wonderful memories of WV that can never be taken away from me.

  • Deborah Costa

    I left West Virginia inn1990, moving to South Carolina to be near the ocean, the one thing that keeps me going. I think of home often and what I missed by leaving, like the time not spent with my grandchildren, I did not have a real grandparent relationship with them as they were not allowed to come spend time with me as they were growing up, there were no trips to Disney World or proms and graduations. I hurt because out of three, 1 does not even have the time to wish me a Happy Birthday. But I do have many good memories of home, I miss my family, the hills, the colorful trees, football, deep inside I will always be from West Virginia

  • native daughter

    I too, left the land that I grew into, my flesh etched by the soil. I do have my scars, both emotional and physical which were a result of fully living as we from those hills are wont to do. Climbing, running, swimming, falling, tripping, and falling again.
    I knew I would leave. Nom not my family, ever, and not the hills and the beautiful beauty of those hills. But the narrow mindedness that refused to budge. The bigotry, whether whispered or shouted, was deafening, the misogyny was impossible to overcome and the violence against women and sometimes children, was too painful to exist in. The ideas that one religion serves everyone, or that religion is necessary for virtue or for good, all of these things, overcame me. I could not breathe.
    My love of home has never changed, nor has my sense of home. I have been displaced by many things. Lack of opportunity, lack of education, extreme actions by a few who had power, all contributed to my leaving.
    I have returned a few times, it is sad and beaten down, broken and devastated in places. As am I.
    But, also like me, there is beauty to be found, a survivor from those hills that have been fought for and remain. Some are awake and struggle to have equality for man and beast, woman and child. Land and coal barons.
    I regret too much, have never found a place that inspired me to root in place.
    Yes, I abandoned the land, but the people, and politics abandoned me. The narrow views that keep some of us, no matter where we are born or call home, set in stone without thought to examine right or wrong, simply clinging to time worn attitudes that are destructive and harmful to all, including those who cling.
    I no longer dream of returning to a better West Virginia. I dream that someday there will be humanity enough to embrace all who are born there, if any remain with a sense of adventure. There are fewer and fewer of us who have stood the test.

  • Char

    My parents left West Virginia after graduating from Paden City High School and WVU in the 1960s. I was born in Washington State, raised in Eastern Pennsylvania and have raised my own family in Maryland for the past 20 years. I have never actually lived in West Virginia, but the sentiment still completely resonates. It is the place in my heart of Grandma’s front porch, the creek where I played with many cousins, Granddad’s camp at Middle Island, and many happy memories. Jason, thank you for a great tribute to a beautiful place and to those who call it home.

  • Sherry Frye

    I just happened on to this website. I too am from WVa. Left for awhile in my 20’s. Couldn’t wait to get back!! Never desired to !eave again. I love my wild, wonderful WVa!!.Born here, raised here, will probably die here!!
    I think it is heaven!! From Lorado, Logan County!! And proud!!

  • Eloise Ruckman Player

    This is interesting site…I too was born in Pocahontas Co, WVa….I left when I graduated from high school in 1959, met my future husband in Washington, DC and moved to North Carolina when we married. He has always loved W.Va. but we just go back to visit. I am so thankful I was raised in W.Va. Nothing compares to the schools, teachers, churches we had growing up. I would not change anything…just wish the children today could enjoy what we enjoyed. It is still a beautiful place and the song The West Virginia Hills says it all. And there is another song I have heard, “Take me Back to West Virginia” that is
    beautiful. I really enjoyed reading all the comments.

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