January 2006

A Little About Bob

Willa Dean Bonnell Spiker

Dean describes how Bob and many other relatives spent their weekends. It included hiding from the law.

Bob and I were married Nov 2, 1946 and lived on a 150 acre farm purchased from Port DeBrular. It was located on Bear Run between the property owned by Jake Pierce on one side and Earl Pierce on the other. We lived there 7 ½ yrs. (Bob had previously been in college at W.V. Tech in Montgomery, WV.)

We moved to Clarksburg when I was pregnant for our first child, Cathy Roeanna.

Bob and his cousin Burns Harlan were real close and when his Mother Kate (who was sister to Gay Spiker) came to visit, he would come to our house.

We would spend many week-ends, when roads were too bad to get to church, playing Rook & Canasta. We’d play all day Sat & all night. Bob would go milk then come back to eat and play all day Sunday. We ate a lot of popcorn and fudge. Didn’t have chips & dips then.

They hunted squirrels and fished a lot and caught frogs. Bob would row the boat into the bank, Burns would catch them in his hand and I carried the sack to hold them. One of them held the flashlight to search out the frogs. Some people used “gigs” but we didn’t. They would skin them and I would roll them in flour & salt & pepper and fry them in country butter that I had churned. Boy, were they good! Some people fried just the legs, but we fried the whole thing. Looked like a little man stretched out in the pan, muscles still twitching.

One time we were in the boat up by what they called the Grant meadow when water had filled up the boat till we were afraid it would capsize. Burns decided to try to get out. He got one leg in the boat and the other sank into the “muck” clear to his crotch. Couldn’t get in & couldn’t get out. We laughed till we cried. I don’t remember how he finally made it out. We sure had fun!

Another time we saw lights down the river across from the “Sophie house” and went to investigate. A boat full of men were hunting frogs. Now they didn’t have permission and we felt the frogs belonged to us as Brad owned the farm, and therefore the water, so we ordered them out. They didn’t go at first but Bob and Burns threatened them and they finally went to the other end of the stream and got out. One of them was my boss at the sewing factory. I figured I’d get fired the next day, but it was never mentioned.

Another good time we had was “seining”. I remember two times in particular. One was when we were doing it in daylight. Someone said, if anyone stopped to ask, we’d say we were swimming. But the funny thing about it was – Uncle Glen was wearing his hat. Now you don’t go swimming with a hat on! Enough said.

Adelene always said it wasn’t any fun unless we about got caught. We always hid when a car came along. You see it was against the law.

We used small-holed chicken wire and ran a chain through the bottom of the wire to hold it down on the bottom so we could drag for the big stuff.

One time in particular thy didn’t have enough men to do the job (we women ran along the bank or down the road, hiding when a car went by) so they used Dorothy. She was so short and the water below the swinging bridge at that time was so deep she had to bounce “tippy-toe” to hold her end up so her chin wouldn’t go under water. It’s nowhere near that deep now. I think there was Hayward – Dorothy – Bob – Burns – Lynn & Brad. I don’t know how many fish we got but some big ones and sure did have fun.

One time up at the Grant meadow hole we got a big turtle. I think once Brad got a finger caught in a turtle’s mouth. We had pulled the catch up on a sand bar across from the Bull Barn.