by Bonnie Sue Bennett Pishner
Hardcover, 368 pages, 6in x 9in
Swell Mountain Memories documents what life in the West Virginia hills was like, specifically Freezeland and Swell Mountains. This is a valuable resource not only for family, but for everyone interested in early life in West Virginia. What a vast difference a hundred years, even fifty years, makes in the way we live our daily lives, our routines, the conveniences we have, the schools we attend, the jobs we have, the entertainment we indulge in, the way births and deaths are dealt with, the explosion of technology, as well as every other aspect of our lives. I hope this book will be used in a positive manner, promoting our appreciation for our ancestors as well as our appreciation for the easier life we have, compared to our ancestors’ way of life.
An excerpt from the book: “Even though we were surrounded by God’s handiwork and beauty, there were many long hours spent toiling the fields, as well as performing other chores associated with farm living. Yet, people seemed to have more time for each other, were kinder and more neighborly, helping anyone in need. The country has a way of calling you back, with its tranquility, independence, beauty and nearness to the world as God made it. You don’t realize that what you take for granted will one day become what you long for the most. I miss the innocence of those times when entertainment meant a comic book, a trip to Hinton and getting to eat a hot dog from the Hinton Hot Dog Stand or looking forward to a dishpan full of popcorn after supper. “
Swell Mountain Memories is a hardback book that has 28 chapters, and is published by Headline Books, Inc., P. O. Box 52, Terra Alta, WV 26764. It contains 368 pages, giving a glimpse into what farm life was like in those beautiful mountains for my grandparents, Lanie and Lou Bennett and Sarah and Alexander Richmond, as well as my parents, Elsie and Huber Bennett. Although times were hard, this book tells of the adventures, imagination and the make-do attitude of country people living off the land. The men and women took what some would see today as trash and made very good use of it, which was their way of life. The media today is always urging people to go green, save the planet, reduce, reuse, and recycle. Our forefathers were a master at doing that could teach us a thing or two about reducing waste!! Freezeland and Swell Mountains exist no more as they were then, but as long as one of us that lived there is alive, those mountains will always be remembered fondly.
The author, Bonnie Sue Bennett Pishner, has a bachelor’s degree in Social Work from Concord University and a Master’s Degree in Social Work From West Virginia University. She is retired from the West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources. Bonnie grew up with one brother and one sister, roaming and exploring the mountains with cousins and friends. Although country life was hard work, the mountains offered opportunities for many outdoor experiences that shaped and molded the character of those who had the privilege of living there. The mother of two sons and two grandchildren, Bonnie resides in Beckley, WV.