My grandfather, Daniel Short, was a captain in the Civil War from Virginia. After the war he was owner of a boarding house on Main Street, Jenkins, for the coalminers. His daughter, my mom, Cinda Short, was the chief cook.
My dad, Randolph Vanover, was one of the miners and married Mom. I was their first-born.
Next door to us was my best friend, Johnny Blizard. He could not walk well. I took him to Jenkins School in my wagon.
Next door to us was my aunt, Ida Mae Sexton, married to Joe Sexton, who was the mayor of Jenkins for awhile.
We were very poor. My aunt gave me hand-me-down clothes from her boys for a long time that kept me in school.
When my dad lost his job with the coal company, we moved to the last house at the head of Cane Branch to a 100-acre farm, and farmed for years for a living.
We walked four miles round trip to school every day, rain or shine. I would have to hurry home to go into the field and work until it got dark. On weekends I would help Dad sell our produce. We had no electricity.
I was very good in sports, but my work kept me away from sports. All this time I was at Burdine School, and at Jenkins it was the same, I played lots of sports.
When war broke out I took my GED test and would be away from home for the first time. I did some flying as a teenager in the military; they did not know my age.
I was asked to work for some generals at the Pentagon. I became one of the men they could depend on.
Then the President found out I was one of the best on those printing presses that we worked on, and I would not tell others what we talked about.
When my military service was over I worked for a large outfit for over 20 years in a one-man print shop and made a lot of money. I not only was a good printer, but I could repair the press I worked on.
I hear a lot about the printers for The Mountain Eagle, and I hear they had good pressmen. During my printing years I’ve trained many good printers.
(Contributing writer Everett Vanover lives in California.)