A to Z Theme 2016

For my 2016 A to Z theme I used a meme that I ran across on the blog of Bridget Straub who first saw it on the blog of Paula Acton. This meme is a natural for me to use on my memoir blog. It's an A to Z concept and it's about me. No research and nothing complicated. I'm given twenty six questions or topics to discuss that are about me.

In April I kept my posts short and uncomplicated. In the midst of it all you might learn a few things about me that you didn't previously know.

Saturday, January 4, 2014

Fly By Town

Harpers Ferry
Harpers Ferry (Photo credit: cliff1066™)
       I won't say that I was lost.  I didn't know exactly where I was, but I basically knew where I was going.  I had taken a wrong turn and didn't particularly want to stop to consult the map.  The road I was on would eventually come to a main road that I recognized.  I was pretty sure of that.   Most roads go somewhere and that somewhere will usually provide more options.    You can never get really lost forever on highways.  For a short while maybe, but not forever.

         Winding through mountains in West Virginia, then Virginia, then back and forth again, I was enjoying the beauty of the place yet I was anxious to get back to the main highway.  We had a ways to go and I wanted to get to our motel in Lexington, Virginia before it got dark.

         As we came out of a particularly curvy mountainous area, we emerged into a small community.  I wouldn't quite call it a town because I didn't see anything besides houses.  There were quite a number of these houses.  Houses that struck me as being somewhat large looking two story houses, similar in design and relatively old.  Houses built before 1950--maybe even pre-war.  The community looked neat, but poor.  And odd.  

        The place was eerie odd like something seen in a dream.  In retrospect I almost wished I had stopped, or at least paid more attention.   At the time I was more concerned about finding a main highway and I did after passing the eerie odd community.

         For the rest of the drive that day my mind kept going back to the place on the road that I had flown by.  I felt haunted.  That evening in the motel I looked on my computer to find out where it was that we had passed through.  Nothing.   I could not figure out what that place had been.

        Several weeks later after more careful researching with the help of Google Maps and Google Search, I figured out what place we had flown by.   Bishop, Virginia and Bishop, West Virginia was the town.  A place divided due to having been  built on the border of two states.

          Bishop is an old coal mining town--something I had surmised as we drove past.  I mentioned that to my wife and now it was confirmed for me.  Now with mines closed, Bishop is just part of the Appalachian poverty region.   What was a fly by town to me is a place where a goodly number of people live and struggle to get by.

          Why write about Bishop today?   Because today, January 4th, a Saturday, I hope to pass through there again if my schedule allows.  If I do return, this time I will slow down a bit.  Maybe take some pictures.  Maybe just stop and look for a moment.   The place still haunts me.  If I make sure that it is real--real to me at least--then maybe its ghost will live in my memory a different way.  Not a dream, but a real place.

          Have you ever passed through a town that haunted you?   What is the strangest place you've ever been to?   Are you familiar with Bishop or the Appalachian region of West Virginia and Virginia?

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  1. The strangest place I've ever been has to be Las Vegas, and this coming from someone who lived in San Francisco for many years. A town that haunted me? Not that I know of, although I have been through some really poverty stricken towns that are too gross to stop in like Aberdeen & Hoquiam, Washington.

  2. "You can never get really lost forever on highways." This is a great line. The whole piece is really nice.

  3. Very interesting post Arlee,
    Thanks for sharing about Bishop Virginia and Bishop West Virginia
    Very interesting names indeed
    Have a Happy Weekend

  4. There are old mining towns that are eerie. We climbed down into a cave with a tour guide up in Murphy, CA. Could almost feel the souls trapped in there.

  5. Hi Lee - I can totally relate to getting lost ... I went round in circles in the tiny lanes of the Marches of England/Wales .. hoping my sense of direction had not completely deserted me.

    It's interesting how places get carved up by boundary divisions .. and I'd love to visit the Appalachians someday ..

    Glad you're safe .. Happy New Year - cheers Hilary

  6. I have been to Harpers Ferry, WV, and have seen the view in your photo. We caught a train to Chicago from there about a year ago. We lived about an hour from there at the time.
    I think "strange" differs from person to person, but the strangest town I ever visited was New Orleans. We saw a guy talking to a statue in a fountain,, a lady dancing with a lamppost, and an old guy in a red plaid flannel shirt sitting at a card table telling fortunes for money. Pretty strange in my book! LOL!

  7. There is a place on the New River in W. VA. where it feels like the deep woods on each side of the river have there there forever. Then you can see the remnants of a town, deserted and almost reclaimed by the woods around it. That's my "haunted" place.


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Arlee Bird