Coal Miner’s Company House

A little country village in West Virginia, during the 1930’s and 1940’s, situated between two steep and wooded rugged hills, was indeed to become a booming town. Underground coal mining was coming to the village. 

There was one mining company that began deep underground mining for coal and they employed a dozen or so men, including my father. Our family and others moved into the “holler” but were not fortunate to own property. When the coal company started operations they used the miners to build clapboard sided two-story houses for those without, which included our family, to live in as long as they were employed with the coal company.

Our house and every company built house had 4 rooms downstairs and 2 large rooms upstairs. They were all the same design.  No indoor plumbing. Coal was the fuel burned in a fireplace in the living room that supplied heat in the winter. It was like the house was built around the chimney. Heat radiated out from the sides of the chimney which was visible inside and ran straight up through the middle of the house into the 2 bedrooms upstairs. Coal was free. Dad would take us kids riding in the back of his 1940’s Ford pickup truck to the mines. There we would load up the truck bed with a week’s supply of coal and then unload it in the coal shed next to the house once we got home. Everybody used coal and there were some days black coal smoke would lazily float up out of the chimneys from every house and would linger over the valley tree tops with a gray heavy smog. There was always the smell of coal smoke in the air.

No indoor plumbing meant no indoor toilet facilities. So, every house had an outhouse and we took our baths from a big pan filled with water heated on the coal-fired kitchen stove. Water came from a deep well and drawn up by a hand pump outside next to a back porch. 

From the back porch to the outhouse my father and mother laid down a brick walkway. Also, they laid down a sidewalk around our house. The brick coming from the mines brick yard. My mother was pregnant with me when they built the sidewalk. A few years ago I returned to the place where the house once stood. The area was grown over with brush and years of rotten trees. I began digging around where the house stood and finally uncovered the sidewalk. I loaded my truck bed with as many bricks I could find, took them home and built a hearth for my wood burning stove.

After a short time my maternal grandmother came to live with us. It was a real treat to have her there. Many times my brother and I would gather around her as she rocked back and forth in her creaking rocking chair. Sitting on the floor next to the fireplace in the livingroom, we would listen to her tell of times long ago when she was a little girl. She told of some really ghostly scary stories that made the hair stand on the back of our necks. And to this day I can remember those tales and have passed some on to my grandchildren. Poor grandma, who was getting up there in age was unable to use the outhouse, so she used a chamber pot which was stored under her bed. Mother would empty the pot at the outhouse every morning.

One day mother decided that we needed a larger outhouse. So, the men from the mines were called on to tear down the old one and build a new one. It was a deluxe outhouse with 2 sitters. The only one in the neighborhood that would accommodate 2 people at the same time. My mother was so proud. Only in those days would this be considered a luxury.

Many years have passed and sometimes I yearn for the. return of those days. So simple, so uncomplicated. Enjoying lazy warm summer evenings sitting in the swing on the front porch with my mother as she chatted with a neighbor who lived down the road. I laid on the swing with my head in mother’s lap listening to them talk about the events of the day. Mother would swing slowly back and forth . Soon in the darkness of the evening lightning bugs would glow their yellow green light down next to the creek. Closing my eyes I would fall asleep. I was just a little boy, but I remember those wonderful days and how peaceful it was in that little village. The name of the village was called, Gloryholler.



153,380 Russian signatures have been signed on a “Putin Must Go” petition from May 10, 2010 to May 4, 2022. The Russian citizens have long desired to kick Putin out of power way before the Ukraine invasion. And that desire has been growing ever since. Read the petition which was written in Russian language. It is available now below in English.

Dictator Vladimir Putin

Citizens of Russia! The realization that our country, by the will of the ruling elite, was in a historical impasse prompted us to publish this appeal.

The handing over practically unlimited power over Russia by the Family, which was looking for guarantees of its security, to a person with a dubious reputation, who was not distinguished by talents or the necessary life and professional experience, predetermined a sharp degradation of all institutions of public administration.

The need for change is already felt by a significant part of the ruling “elite”, it is enough to recall the sensational opus “Russia, forward!”. However, medvedev’s “modernization” project is distinctly imitative in nature and serves the sole purpose of renovating the scenery while preserving the nature of the authoritarian kleptocracy regime.

We argue that the socio-political structure that is destroying Russia, which today is imposed on the citizens of our country, has an architect, a curator and a guardian in one person. His name is Vladimir Putin.

We argue that no substantive reforms are possible in Russia today as long as Putin wields real power in the country.

We argue that the dismantling of the Putin regime, the country’s turn in the direction of democratic development, can begin only with the deprivation of Putin of all the levers of control of the state and society.

We argue that during the years of his rule, it was Putin who became a symbol of a corrupt and unpredictable country ruthless towards his own citizens. A country in which citizens are disenfranchised and overwhelmingly poor. A country that has neither ideals nor a future.

If, as Kremlin propagandists like to repeat, Russia was on its knees in Yeltsin’s time, Putin and his oprichniki put their faces in the mud.

In the mud of contempt by the power not only of the rights and freedoms of the individual, but also of human life itself.

In the mud of a fake and helpless imitation of political and social institutions – from the bureaucratic phantom of United Russia to the Nashista Putin youth.

Into the filth of the minds and souls of television obscurantism, turning still one of the world’s most educated peoples into a spiritless and immoral crowd.

Into the mud of total theft and corruption flowing from the very top of Russian power. Without Putin’s many years of asceticism, there could be no financial empires of billionaires of the inner circle – Abramovich, Timchenko, Kovalchuk, Rotenberg – on the Kremlin galleys; nor the parasitic state corporations of friends – these black holes of the Russian economy.

Having begun his ascent with the epochal “wet in the sorting room”, Putin has been using this universal “tool” of governing the country for almost eleven years, which has proved to be especially effective in relations with political opponents and business competitors.

Any political, social or economic dissent is immediately suppressed: at best, by administrative restrictions, and often by riot police batons, criminal prosecutions, physical violence and even murder. Putin has proven in practice that he will destroy his personal opponents by all available means.

During his time at the top of state power, Putin failed everything that could be failed. Pension and administrative reforms have been ruined, reforms of the army, special services, law enforcement and judicial systems have not been carried out, and domestic healthcare remains in a miserable state.

The decline of education and science, left to the mercy of dealers from the cooperative “Lake”, has reached such a level that it is time to enroll characters like Petrik and Gryzlov in the “titans” of Russian scientific thought.

Ten years have been missed when the boom in prices for hydrocarbons and metals could be used to modernize the country and structurally transform the economy. That is why the blow of the global crisis turned out to be so ruthless for Russia, which for it is far from over.

As Yeltsin’s designated successor, Putin not only failed to correct his predecessor’s fatal mistakes and extinguish the Caucasian conflagration, but his policies managed to translate it into a new quality that could undermine the integrity of the country.

“Kursk”, “Nord-ost”, Beslan, tens of thousands of deaths in the internecine Second Caucasian War, thousands of people who lost their lives from man-made disasters, burned in nursing and disabled homes not adapted for human living, dozens of murdered journalists, human rights defenders, political opponents of the regime and simply victims of sadistic police lawlessness – all these are grave monuments to the time of Putin’s rule.

The unsolved mysteries of the conception of the Putin regime remain Basayev’s campaign in Dagestan, the explosions of houses in Moscow and Volgodonsk, and the “exercises” in Ryazan.

Putin’s inability to think strategically has long surprised no one. It is not given to him to foresee what the world will be like in ten or fifteen years, what place Russia should and can take in this changing world. He is not able to assess the real threats and risks to the country, which means that he is not able to correctly plan the directions of possible movement, to identify potential allies and opponents.

A vivid illustration of such a short-sighted policy is the recent capitulation agreements with China, which, with Putin’s light hand, actually write off the Russian Far East and Eastern Siberia to the Celestial Empire.

Putin’s misunderstanding of the future is also evidenced by his maniacal passion for laying oil and gas pipes in every conceivable and unthinkable direction, initiating ambitious and costly projects (like the Sochi Olympics or the bridge to Russky Island), which are absolutely contraindicated in a country where a significant part of the population lives below the poverty line.

By temporarily moving from the presidential chair to the prime minister’s apartment and leaving in the Kremlin an obedient locum tenens of the same “blood group” with him – the modern Simeon Bekbulatovich – Putin created an openly unconstitutional construction of lifelong governance of the country.

Obviously, Putin will never voluntarily relinquish power in Russia. His firm determination to rule for life is driven not so much by a thirst for power itself as by a fear of responsibility for what he has done. It is humiliating for the Russian people, and deadly for the country to have a ruler like Putin. Russia will no longer be able to carry this cross.

Putin’s group, which is losing ground under its feet, can at any time move from targeted repressions to mass repressions. We warn law enforcement officers and law enforcement agencies – do not go against your people, do not follow the criminal orders of corrupt officials when they send you to kill for Putin, Sechin, Deripaska:

Today, the national demand at rallies from Vladivostok to Kaliningrad should be the call “Putin is on the way out!” Getting rid of Putinism is the first, but mandatory step on the way to a new free Russia.

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