One Month At A Time

Mail bag: West Virginia State Penitentiary

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I don’t get tons of email from readers, but I do get some. This one felt like a full blown letter and I just wanted to share it.
Dear Mr. Lynch,

I was in Charleston this past weekend for a birthday party for my wife’s one year-old grandson.  She is from Nitro, and my dad’s family is (was) mostly from the Huntington and Louisa, KY areas. While the festivities were going on I was able to find a quite spot and read your paper.

When I was a kid (about 4), we moved from Ceredo  to Fall River, Massachusetts.  My dad worked for General Foods Corp, and had married a Maine Yankee when he was a Navy pilot.  After my two sisters were born in Huntington she had had enough of WV and wanted to get back up North. Over the years we would make the trip back to Louisa to visit grandparents,cousins, aunts and uncles in the summer. A very long and tedious trip. Coming off the Pennsylvania Turnpike we would head west and eventually connect with Route 2/7 in Moundsville, and follow the Ohio River on our way to Huntington. He would drive us by the prison to impress on us that it was where the bad guys go. I think there was a glass factory my mom also liked to visit. We would even see chain-gangs on the roads.  Your fine story gave me some background on the prison. I was under the impression it had all been torn down.

I worked for The New York Times for 23 years before retiring down here in Prosperity, SC where most of my wife’s family migrated too from WV.  It is pleasure to read your paper.  Every time I am up your way I get a copy.  It is great to see how well a “small” market paper can do with great writing and good design (still has the size of a newspaper). We have an awful paper here in Columbia. The State would be out of business if it didn’t have obits, cooking and USC football to cover.  It is really sad, but it is not much better than the local weeklies.

Keep up your fine writing and picture taking.  Tell the editor, next time you risk your life and sanity, that you want to be on the front page above the fold.

Sincerely,
Rush L. Workman
Prosperity, SC