As a little girl, Loretta Siers (Loretta Rowsey at
the time) remembers visiting her uncle and watching the planes flying
“I always told him, someday I will get on one of
those planes and fly far away,” said Siers. “I knew from the time I was
very small that traveling would be something I would do someday. We had
a neighbor lady that would show slides of her homeland of Switzerland,
and I would tell her, too, that someday I would visit the places in
As time went by, growing up in Kanawha Falls
(Fayette County), she never forgot her dreams of traveling.
As a teenager, she met Kenneth Siers, who was home
on leave from the Army. They courted long distance for a couple of years
before marrying on Feb. 27, 1960.
The newlyweds were stationed in Fort Eustis, Va.,
for the first year of their marriage. The next transfer would send them
to Ottawa, Ill.
Siers’ traveling had only just begun.
Kenneth was discharged from the Army, and he and
Loretta began a number of moves over several years. The Siers family
grew, with Robert born in 1964 and Beverly in 1965.
They would live in Cleveland, Grantsville and
Parkersburg before Kenneth enlisted in the Navy. The family had moved
quite a bit before, but the real moving was now underway.
“Kenneth retired after 24 years in the Navy as a
Master Chief in 1988. We moved about every four years during those years
of enlistment,” said Siers.
The family lived in North Carolina, Virginia, Cuba,
and Naples, Italy. That same little girl from West Virginia did more
than travel to far away places, she lived in them.
“I loved Cuba the best. It was such a slow pace. We
lived right on the coast, and it was wonderful,” said Siers.
She did much traveling while overseas and even
found her way to the same village of her old Swiss neighbor.
“I sent her postcards and called to tell her I had
made it, just like I said that I would. She laughed and said, ‘Loretta,
your someday is today!’ ” said
When all the transfers and new bases and new posts
ended, the family had to decide where to settle. The choice was simple.
“West Virginia is my home. It didn’t matter where
we were or what country we were in. I always knew that I would return
here to West Virginia,” said Siers.
She laughed when she said her mother had teased her
and said she would not last in West Virginia after all the traveling she
had done: “Mom said that in four years I would get an itching to move
on, but I knew that I was home here, and the itching never came. We have
lived in our home here on Russett Road for 20 years, and I am happy.”
Now, don’t think that this avid traveler doesn’t
still get on a plane and do some touring. She still loves to go on trips
and spends several weeks in Utah each year visiting her family that
includes two grandchildren, five step-grandchildren, and two
Just this summer, she traveled with her
granddaughter, Brittany, to an American Idol audition in Salt Lake City,
Utah. While there, she became an avid fan of the Raptors, a minor league
baseball team. “I still love to travel,” said Siers.
While not traveling, she is busy here in Calhoun as
an active volunteer at Aging With Grace and MHHS long term care.
Loretta and Madeline Moore volunteer at Aging With
She also participates in Red Hats, Enon choir and
CCCOA walking team. She teaches Sunday School and is a volunteer driver
for people that need a ride to a doctor’s appointment.
She is an avid reader and enjoys writing a
correspondent’s column for the Chronicle.
Siers served 14 years as an exchange student
representative, placing exchange students for American Scandinavian
Student Exchange. She placed 84 students, averaging six a year. She
still keeps in touch with several of those students, and said they all
loved West Virginia.
Siers said, “At the time, we were living in
Virginia and very close to the ocean. Whenever I would take one of the
students back to West Virginia to visit my mother, they would want to
stay. Over and over again, they would ask, ‘When are we going back to
see Granny? When can we return to West Virginia?’ ”
Loretta, like those exchange students, loves West
Virginia. After years of being away, she has settled in and found some
comfort in the hills of our state and peace beside the Little Kanawha
Her Swedish neighbor said it best: her someday is
today. She still takes the plane rides and sees the sights, but in the
end, she always returns home to West Virginia.