TRUE FRIENDSHIP - September 7, 2006
“One of the compensations of
true friendship is that people who are truly
congenial, don’t drift apart . . . If you have
traveled much you know about this . . . each
place you have lived there will rise to the
surface a few people who will remain close.
And though time and distance
reduce your contacts to once or twice a year,
you will find yourselves picking up the threads
of friendship just where you left off. What
united you in the first place was something
beyond place or circumstance.”
--from “Love and Laughter,” by Marjorie Holmes
This happened to me last week! I
visited Joanne and Ross Perry in Lewisburg and
the minute I got in the door, Joanne and I sat
down for a cup of tea and started an endless
chain of talking. We met in the fall of 1965
when Ross came to town as production manager for
Rubber Fabricators. We were both young parents
and were willing to work for advantages for our
children and our town. We helped organize the
J.O.Y. Circle and a kindergarten at First
Baptist Church. We also belonged to the Civic
Club. Ross was a charter member of the Junior
Chamber of Commerce in Grantsville and was a
deacon at the church. He was transferred to
Monroe County in the fall of 1965, and the
family moved to Lewisburg.
They have retired in Green-brier
County where Ross is a starter at the Sporting
Club and Joanne is a Welcome Wagon hostess. They
are active in First Baptist Church of Fairlea.
Their daughter, Julia, died in 1998 and their
son, Stuart, lives near White Sulphur Springs
with his family.
When they first came to
Grantsville, they lived on Rt. 5 in Gilmer
County. At that time, it was a long distance
call between counties. The telephone operator in
Grantsville was very helpful when Joanne had to
contact her husband in a hurry. She could see
all over town from her office and was helpful in
time of need.
We visited Clinton and Joan
Foster while in Lewisburg. Clinton was band
director from 1955-1960. He was originally from
Nitro, and a graduate of Marshall.
He retired in Warren, Ohio,
after 31 years of teaching. His wife was a nurse
at St. Joseph’s Hospital, Parkersburg, and,
after moving to Grantsville, traveled back for
another year as an instructor. She joined the
staff at Calhoun General Hospital, when it
opened in October of 1959.
Two of their four children were
born during the Grantsville stay. Leslie, a
pharmacist, and Greg, a steelworker and
musician, live in Warren. Jeff is a radiologist
at University of Wisconsin and Stacie is a nurse
in Raleigh, N.C. They have three grandchildren:
Calvin and Maddy are Jeff’s teenagers, and Katey,
daughter of Leslie, is earning an MS in
psychology at University of Akron.
They also had a phone story to
relate. The band was planning to play for the
inauguration of Cecil Underwood in Charleston.
The night before, a big snow occurred and the
roads were impassable. Clinton started calling
his students to let them know that the trip was
canceled. He contacted most of the students, and
the operator knew how to get in touch with
neighbors of the other band members. All
students were contacted, except one from the
Arnoldsburg area. The student, Jack McCollum,
showed up at his door the next morning. His
father had brought him through the snowstorm.
The Fosters had another
snowstorm story to tell.
They were on their way home from
Elizabeth and got as far as the Creston ferry.
The blinding snow limited their vision and they
ended up in a cornfield, looking over a bank at
the ferry. The ferryman called to them and told
them the ferry was closed for the night. When
asked what they should do, he told them they
needed to turn around and return to Elizabeth
and go over the hills to Grantsville. Joan was
pregnant and they had a one-year-old son with
them and only one bottle of milk. It was a
Clinton remembers the face of
every student. It may take a little memory
jogging to put a name with the face, but it will
eventually come back. He also remembers many of
the parents who chaperoned band camp and other
They are not traveling much now,
because Joan is recovering from hip surgery.
Former students are invited to get in touch with
The Perrys and Fosters have many
good memories of their time in Calhoun County,
remembering the kindness and hospitality of the
people. Both couples hope to return in the near
future for a visit with old friends.