.
Adrian and Dot Gwin
An Album to Celebrate Their Lives

Adrian Sutton Gwin (12 Sep 1916 - 7 May 2001)
Dorothy Lee Keeney (10 Feb 1915 - 31 Mar 2005)


Page Updated 10 Jul 2016

Please sign their guestbook--thanks!
SCROLL TO THE BOTTOM FOR DOT'S ACCOUNT OF THEIR MARRIAGE.

Grandson Jeremy has put together a collection of Grandpa's "columns" from 50 years of writing for the Charleston Daily Mail.

27.01--Maxine Stanley Keeney,
27.02--Hannah Margaret Keeney,
27.0
3--Dorothy Lee Keeney m. Adrian S. Gwin

27.0
4--Mildred Agnes Keeney,

27.0
5--Albert McDonald "Buster" Keeney,

27.0
6--Helen Pauline "Bennie" Keeney,

27.0
7--George McClure Keeney,









SCROLL TO THE BOTTOM FOR DOT'S ACCOUNT OF THEIR MARRIAGE.



At five, they sure were cute!


Adrian in Selma, AL, around 1920-21 (age 4-5), and Dot in Tad, WV, summer of 1920 (age 5):



 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 













 



School Days

Above: 1931, age 14 if taken before September12 or 15 if after



High School Yearbook

Above: Dot's senior yearbook picture, Malden High School, 1932. Inscription: Dorothy Lee Keeney, "Dot", "The answer to a teacher's prayer"; Charleston High 1-2-3; Vice President Library Club1; Chorus Club 1; Class Poet 1; Curtain and Mask Club 2-3; Class Play 4
Below: Dot shares a memory with a Malden High classmate at a MHS reunion. They graduated in 1932, so this must've been their 60th in 1992, since she's in her wheelchair.

Below: How 'bout that--here's Adrian's picture at age 16, taken the summer of 1932 only weeks after Dot graduated!


Below left: age 17 in New Orleans; right: at Troop 49 Court of Honor, New Orleans--new Eagle Scouts




Newlyweds!
1942-1947

Below, left: The reason Dot was in New Orleans in 1942 was to take a summer class at Tulane, which class required her to work at the Jewish Children's Home (where this picture was taken). Tulane, the Home, and Grandmother's boarding house (where she lived and met Dad) were in close proximity to each other. Below, center: Their honeymoon was at Bay St. Louis, Mississippi. Below, right: Taken shortly after their wedding (11 Aug 1942), possibly in New Orleans (where they were married), in Mississippi (where they honeymooned), in WV (where they lived for several months in late 1942), or even Texas (where he was stationed in 1943).
SCROLL TO THE BOTTOM FOR DOT'S ACCOUNT OF THEIR MARRIAGE.



 
 
 
 
Clockwise, from above:

Up Witcher's Creek, 8 Apr 1945;

sitting on the old bridge at Aunt Maude's home,
Tad, WV, 1943;

ready to eat dinner at "5218 Chinaman Rd.
Goodyear Homes
Brunswick, GA
14 Aug 1945"
(l-r:) Nile Norton, Sarah (unk.), Opal Norton,
Dot and Adrian Gwin





1947-1960--Monroe Avenue, St. Albans

Below: Dot and firstborn (b. 29 Oct) on 7 Nov 1947

Peas porridge hot,
Peas porridge cold,
Here are...



Above left: Dot on a fencepost in 1957; right: playing carols one Christmas in the late 1950's at 2304 Monroe
Below: Adrian doing some research at the Daily Mail's "library"--1950's?


 



7 Keiffer Drive, St. Albans--1960-1999

 
Clockwise from top left:

* 14 Nov 1979 at the Daily Mail

* At the Daily Mail the day after the 17-14 defeat by Tulane University of WVU--30 Sep 1974

* At 7 Keiffer on 4 July 1991 below the flag he defended and loved to fly daily--"On my honor I will do my best to do my duty to God and my country, to obey the Scout Law, to help other people at all times, and to keep myself physically strong, mentally awake, and morally straight."

* A block from Mahala Morris' home at Indian Harbor Beach, FL, Winfried Szodruch commented, "For heaven's sake! Dot is everywhere!

* Eagle Scout Adrian Gwin stands on the Old Main Street Plaza in full Boy Scout uniform (it was "National Boy Scout Uniform Day"), wearing his patches from the two National Jamborees he attended--1937 and 1977--waiting to photograph the speaker of the day, U. S. Air Force General John Jackson of St. Albans.




 
Above, l-r: Adrian and the new deck, May 1992; Dot was tickled and turquoise (setting unk.); Adrian's favorite summer pastime?

Above: Grandma with Courtney and Lauren, April 1992; 
Below: Dot and Milly, Steve and Jeff, Jeanne and Linda, after Mike's wedding 


Above: knitting in the dining room at 7 Keiffer;
Below: Keiffer neighbors enjoying Keiffer neighbors--
Jean Burgess (#8), Dot (#7), Hugh Aeiker (#5)

Below: Thanksgiving 1994 with Jim and Nancy Thompson and Jo Helen's husband and sons


Above: April '92 puzzler
Below: Scrabble buddies!

Above: Thirteen of us home for Christmas one year
Below: Kinfolk at the fiftieth anniversary party at Highlawn Baptist Church, August 1992


l-r, seated on floor: Bennie Metheny, Kevin Gertz, Mary Chloe, Mack Keeney, Pat Gwin, John Gwin, Charity Gwin, Melanie, Sarah Gwin, George Keeney, Vonda Gwin, Jessica Szodruch; row 2, seated on/in chairs: uniden. (blue print dress), Katie Gwin, Dot Gwin, Courtney Gwin, Adrian Gwin, uniden. (sitting on his lap), Sharon Gwin; row 3, standing: uniden., uniden., Buster Keeney, Juanita Keeney, Suzanne Gertz, Kristen Gertz, Jeannie Smith, uniden., Becky Samples, (Opal Norton?), uniden., (Chuck Keeney?), Lynn, uniden., Hannah Keeney, Eileen Austin, Milly Keeney, Guy Corey, Dolly Corey, Frankie Keeney, uniden., uniden., Tom Metheny




At James Street Home in Las Cruces, NM, December 2000



 

Reality

Dead skin that hasn't been scrubbed in ages.
Hair that's not been cut or washed.
Shirts share leftover spots from many meals.
Minds that can't remember how things were a moment past

can still download an episode from
seventy-five years ago
and relive it as it's recounted
for the third time this hour.
The glasses drop to the floor.
A hand on the other's knee.
A tear wells up, a laugh bursts loose.
The wheelchairs each ease toward the other.
Grasping hands reach, meet, clasp,
pursed lips lean outward, touch.
One day soon they'll both be healed.
Not long after, it will be our turn.

--John Gwin (21 Dec 1999)


 
The following obituary appeared in the Charleston Daily Mail:

Page 1A, Charleston Daily Mail, May 7, 2001

'Looking Back' columnist Adrian Gwin dies at 84

By Charlotte Ferrell Smith
of the Daily Mail Staff

Adrian Gwin, longtime Daily Mail reporter and columnist, died early today after a long illness at Memorial Medical Center in Las Cruces, N.M.

He was 84.

Gwin was known for his many talents from writing and speaking to performing feats of gymnastics. He had a fierce love for life and energy to match.

"Adrian personified what was right with life," said Sam Hindman, publisher. "He loved every aspect of being able to meet, greet and embrace people in his many years with the Daily Mail.

"No one loved life fuller or loved his wife, Dot, and family more than Adrian," Hindman said. "He was an example for all of us in work and play."

Gwin and his wife, Dot, moved to Las Cruces in November 1999 to be near his older son John and his wife, Sharon.

"It's good to know he's in heaven, bad he's gone," said Sharon Gwin, who admired her father-in-law's sense of humor.

He told her he had no use for computers or algebra and saw no reason why there should be 25 shades of the color red.

Daily Mail Editor Nanya Friend recalled Gwin's aversion to computers. Gwin started work at the newspaper in 1942. When Friend arrived in 1977, Gwin had already achieved special status on the staff and his name was a household word.

"Computers had recently arrived in the newsroom, and Adrian would have nothing to do with them," she said. "He was such a great storyteller that the editors didn't mind. They let him keep his typewriter, and someone else transferred his stories to the computer."

While Gwin's sense of humor was unmatched, he took his job seriously.

Earl Benton, retired photographer, began working at the Daily Mail in 1943.

"Going with Gwin on an assignment was the most exciting thing in the world," Benton said. "We worked as a team. We both agreed we would pay a newspaper to let us work. People don't understand how much we enjoyed it."

Benton recalls jumping on a firetruck with Gwin on the way to a blaze. Gwin, known for his great agility, once removed his shoes and scampered up a bridge beam with Benton's camera in tow to get a flood shot.

"Gwin was very spry well into his 60s," said Bob Kelly, former Daily Mail city editor and current political editor. "On occasion, he would demonstrate for the much younger crowd in the newsroom. Standing still beside a desk, he would leap into the air and somehow position himself so that he came to a perfect landing, in a graceful crouch, on top of the desk."

Friend added, "I've also seen him walk across the newsroom on his hands. I'll never forget the day he turned his eyelids inside out and lay down on the floor next to the city desk. He wanted to get a rise out of the usually unflappable Bob Kelly, who was then city editor."

Gwin worked as a reporter and writer for the Daily Mail until his retirement in 1981. Until his death, he wrote a weekly column called "Looking Back."

Gwin, author of the books, "Rovin' the Years With Our Man Gwin," "Never Grow Old" and "Once Upon Ago," was known for his ability to spin what he called "yarns" and was a respected public speaker.

"Gwin could go out in any direction from Charleston, spend a day, and come back with three or four yarns, as he called them," Kelly said. "These would be the product of his unique way of looking at things and people and his ability to engage people and get them to open up to him."

The Rev. Leroy Keeney, retired pastor of Highlawn Baptist Church in St. Albans, said Gwin was a charter member of the church, which was founded more than 50 years ago.

"He was a Sunday school teacher, a good swimmer and a good gymnast," Keeney said. "He worked with children a great deal. He taught kids how to whistle. He worked with the Boy Scouts for years and helped them with merit badges."

John Gwin added that his father "was a lifetime member of the Scouts. He registered continually every year." Gwin achieved Eagle Scout status in 1937 and once said he "tried to live as an Eagle Scout every day."

He said 1942 was a big year for his father. That was the year he graduated from Tulane University, got married, moved away from home for the first time, got his first professional job working at the Daily Mail, and got drafted into a shooting war.

He served in the U.S. Army and was a World War II veteran. He was a native of Selma, Ala.

Also surviving are son Patrick of St. Albans and five grandchildren.

The body is to be cremated. Arrangements are incomplete.

Writer Charlotte Ferrell Smith can be reached at 348-1246 or at charlotte@dailymail.com.

Copyright©2001 Charleston Newspapers Interactive


 
 
From the Las Cruces Sun-News, Tuesday, 8 May 2001, p. A6:

Newsman-columnist Adrian Gwin dies at 84

Adrian Gwin, longtime reporter and columnist for the Charleston (W. Va.) Daily Mail, died here Monday after a long illness at Memorial Medical Center. He was 84.

A native of Selma, Ala., Gwin was a 1942 graduate of Tulane University. He worked at the Daily Mail from 1942 until his retirement in 1981, except during World War II when he served in the Army.

Until his death, he wrote a weekly column called "Looking Back." Gwin also wrote several books, Never Grow Old, Rovin' the Years with Our Man Gwin, and Once Upon Ago.

Gwin was known as much for performing feats of gymnastics as he was for writing. He once removed his shoes and scampered up a bridge beam with a camera to get a flood shot. In the newsroom, he sometimes jumped onto desks and walked across the room on his hands.

He was a charter member of Highlawn Baptist Church in St. Albans, an Eagle Scout, and a lifetime member of the Boy Scouts.

Gwin and his wife, Dot, moved to Las Cruces in November 1999 to be near his oldest son, John.

Also surviving are son Patrick of St. Albans and five grandchildren.

The body is to be cremated. Arrangements are incomplete.

 
Page 9a Charleston Daily Mail May 7, 2001

LOOKING BACK
He learned you can't go back home again.

By Adrian Gwin

EDITOR'S NOTE: Longtime Daily Mail columnist Adrian Gwin had asked that this be his final column.

YOU'VE heard it. You've read it. It's true. You can't go back home. Look, and go home, but "go back home"--never.

It won't work.

In youth, you could go home anytime you were away. Rarely was there no home to go to. Oh, some so-called "homeless" turn their backs on home.

And somewhere along the line, you learn that you can't go back home.

Once, as a boy, I was with my mother in the car in our old community neighborhood, when she turned off the beaten path.

"I'll just drive by the old home place and see it after all these years," she said. "I'm goin' back home."

Way out that dirt road we stopped before an old house with a lot of rotting gingerbread trim. Mother sat in the car, just looking. "That's the place all right--but it's not home."

We talked to the people there--shabby, ignorant-sounding. Mother wouldn't go inside. Back at the car, she said, "Let's go home."

This time, she was just going home, not going back to the ghost of the place where she had spent the first 25 happy years of her life.

I remember when Dot and I first realized that our children didn't come home when they visited us after marrying and starting families.

"Home" to our house one time on a visit from their New Mexico residence, John and Sharon said one day, "We're going home tomorrow."

Boom.

Up 'til then, we had felt they'd be leaving home to return to New Mexico. Now it was more than obvious they'd be leaving our house and going home--their home.

-----------------------

More than 60 years ago, I learned something else about going home.

It was 1934, in Anniston, Alabama.

A stranger came down the sidewalk by our house. He was old, bearded, shabby, and marked by the calluses and scars of a rough, relentless life. But he looked clean.

He saw us on the porch, Mother and four young people. He stopped his shuffling gait before us. In a broken voice, he said, "Madam, I hate to beg, but I'm about famished for something to drink. Could you by chance give me a cup of milk?"

Mother held open the screen door and she invited him into our dining room. "We have a cow," she said, "and milk is our strong point."

We children all rose and went inside with them. I was fascinated by the old man's appearance--worldly, courtly, immeasurable.

Mother offered a piece of leftover chicken and two cold biscuits. I poured a tall glass of cool, rich milk and sat it before him. He bowed his head and murmured, then drank eagerly. I topped the glass with more.

He ate the biscuits and piece of chicken slowly, gracefully, gratefully. He sipped the milk, savoring it fully.

We didn't learn who he was, but we asked questions. Where was he going?

"I'm goin' home," he said. "I was raised down ..." His voice dropped, became husky, trailed off. He cleared his throat, sipped the milk.

"Left a long time ago. Been lots of places. Been gone a long time." The voice was low, barely audible, but he was talking to me. I heard him distinctly.

"Now I'm goin' home."

He didn't say going back home. Just going home. Then he straightened up, raised the milk glass as if it were a champagne goblet. Raised it to me.

"Here's to a long life," he said.

I was beside him when we went to the porch. He said to Mother with a courtly little bow, "Thank you." Nothing else. Just a sincere thank-you.

Stepping out to the sidewalk, he looked again at me.

"Yes, I'm goin' home."

They found him next morning beside a trash bin in an alley downtown. He was covered with old flattened-out cardboard boxes, for what warmth they would afford.

Mr. Lucas, the town policeman, said, "Now you look at that. You'd almost swear that's a smile on his face."

Copyright©2001 Charleston Newspapers Interactive

 


After Adrian Left



 

Mom took her last breath and slipped into Jesus' presence a little after ten on Tuesday morning, 31 May 2005. Jeremy and I were there for quite a while the night before. She was asleep then, but her breathing was labored. I was exhausted, too, so I prayed and asked God to keep her alive so Pat could say goodbye to her the next morning when I called him.

I got back early Tuesday. Her breathing was still labored and she was still asleep. Her hospice nurse was there. I called Pat, but he had already left the house, so I got to speak to Milly, and Milly got to say goodbye to Mom while I held the phone to her ear. Mom never awoke, but I played some of her favorite hymns for her on the little battery-powered organ she had bought on Courtney's sixth birthday. I prayed that she'd hear them and rejoice at her imminent entrance, then ended with the Hallelujah Chorus.

Praise God with me that she is there with Him and not in hell! So many people do not take advantage in this life of the Lord Jesus' offer of salvation--of living forever with Him in heaven. But Mom and Dad did, and I know where they are now. They took God at His word and trusted Him to save them. If you've never read God's promises to you, on behalf of Mom and Dad, I beg you to do so. Read any or all of these passages, then ask Him to save you, too, not because of who you are or what you have done, but because of who He is and what He has done for you.

Romans 6:23--For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.

John 3:16--For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish, but have eternal life.

John 5:24--Truly, truly I say to you, he who hears My word and believes Him Who sent Me has eternal life, and does not come into judgment, but has passed out of death into life.

This word believe has two different meanings:
(1) to give mental assent and
(2) to know.
The first is the definition as in James 2:19 where it says that "the demons believe--and shudder"! The second is the definition as in the two verses above.

The second is often explained by using a chair in which one has never sat.  When asked if he believes that the chair will hold him up, the answer is yes, because that's the purpose of the chair, and one can see that it's built of sturdy materials, etc.  But this type of belief is the first--mental assent--not the second.  One cannot say he believes in the second sense until he sits in the chair, committing himself to it entirely.  If the chair falls, he falls with it.

If you're not sure if you know God personally yet,
here's a link to help you understand better how to do just that.

Dad's and Mom's (and my first) home church, Highlawn Baptist Church of St. Albans, WV, hosted memorial services for them both.  His was held in May 2001, hers on 11 June 2005.  Thank you again, Dr. Joe Hyde, Terry Harvey, Dan Cain, Dot Bowyer, Mary Britt, and the many other brothers and sisters at HBC (including Dr. LeRoy Keeney, now in heaven also!) who helped us with these memorials.

 
Two eulogies read at Mom's memorial service:

My name is Cindy Dunlap Ellis.  I knew Dot Gwin for 55 years.  Her family and mine were friends.

Wasn't Dot a beautiful person?  I don't mean Hollywood beautiful, but the kind of beautiful that lasts and lights up a room for a lifetime.

One of the primary sources of her beauty was her giving nature.  She gave me this little pin.  She gave me any number of small tokens during my childhood.  But the best things she gave me, and all of us around her, were intangible.

Dorothy Keeney Gwin gave us the joy of humor.  She reveled in word plays, silly jokes, and sweet family stories.  She even told some on herself, laughing at her own sometimes prickly and persevering personality, such as the one that ended with an exasperated fellow faculty member at Spring Hill Junior High exclaiming, "Dot Gwin, I'm just gonna tape your mouth shut!"

Dot gave us the gift of the unexpected.  What could be more exciting to youngsters on a quiet street in St. Albans in the 1950's than to have someone whirl in with questions like, "Who wants to go to the ballgame?  Who wants to go to the movies?!"

Another gift was the appreciation of family.  From her extraordinarily loving relationship with Adrian, to her care and concern for relatives of all ages, to introducing you to whatever nieces or nephews she had within her life at any given time, Dot showed that family comes first.  This is not to say that it was her nature to be sloppy with hugs, kisses, and lovey-dovey words.  Dot showed us that family and friendly love takes many forms, and I knew that her words, "Well, hi, Cindy-Belindy," were as heartfelt as a hug any day.

For those of us who are teachers because of her example, Dot Gwin showed us the pleasures and magic of educating others.  She made it look easy and fun, and she continued teaching for the majority of her whole adult life.  Even in retirement, when the effort of teaching could not have been easy, she found opportunities to share her gift of making classes have a spark of joy.

I'm grateful that I was part of her life.  I'm glad Dot blessed me with so many gifts and that my family and I got a glimpse of her beauty.

Cynthia Dunlap Ellis, Red House (Putnam County) WV

"Climb the mountains and get their good tidings."  ---John Muir
(John and Pat, I hope you got word that Dave and Robin tried to be in touch. Love, Cindy)

I had the privilege of knowing Dot for about 45 years. I knew her in many different roles--church worker, friend, mother-in-law, and as a grandmother to my three children.

I very much enjoyed Dot as a mother-in-law.  As soon as John and I were married, New Mexico became our home, so my visits with Dot were few but memorable.  I always enjoyed the talks she and I had.  She was a wonderful story teller as she shared her life experiences. She often made me wish I had been there with her in her college days.

Adrian and Dot and our family took lots of vacations together, covering the US from California to Florida and so much in between. Dot’s most favorite way to remember a trip was by the places where we ate and a coffee cup purchased from each place whenever possible.  I thank her for all those great trips.

She was a wonderful grandmother to Jeremy, Charity, and Sarah.  She always made sure they had fun.  She allowed them to skate in the basement at 7 Keiffer Drive and turn that room into their own special place whenever they visited Grandpa and Grandma.  Long walks, pancakes made into their names, and seeing who could make the lifesaver last the longest are just a very few ways I’ll remember Grandma Dot.

Our family was very blessed to have Dot and Adrian with us for the last few years of their lives.  It was a privilege to have them around all the time when our children were reaching their young adult years.

I loved Dot so very much. I know she was ready to be released from her body that had kept her captive for the last few years and especially the last year or so.  I look forward to seeing her in heaven.  In 2 Corinthians Paul speaks to believers about when they die how good it will be to be absent from the body and present with the Lord.  And that is where Dot is now--present with the Lord.

I found a saying on a card a long time ago, and it now comes to mind as I think of Dot:  “The sorrow of your leaving is but a moment long, but the joy of your being here is forever.”

I love you, Dot.

The following obituary appeared in the Charleston Daily Mail and the Charleston Gazette (I've since added the links):

 
Dorothy Lee Keeney "Dot" Gwin, 90, of Las Cruces, NM, formerly of St. Albans, WV, died May 31, 2005, at her home in Las Cruces.

She was born February 10, 1915, in Charleston, a daughter of McDonald Keeney and Mamie Chloe Stanley Keeney.

A retired art teacher with Kanawha County Public Schools, having taught at Spring Hill Junior High School for most of her career, she also briefly served as Art Supervisor for the KCPS. She received her BS degree from Marshall College in 1936 and her MA from Marshall University in 1970.

She was married on August 11, 1942, to Adrian Sutton Gwin, who wrote human interest columns for many years for the Charleston Daily Mail and also published several books.

They were both active at Highlawn Baptist Church in St. Albans for most of their married lives, where she served as arts and crafts instructor at dozens of summer church camps and Vacation Bible Schools and sang in the choir. Slowed down by a paralyzing stroke in 1988, she continued her ministry by teaching the Special Education Sunday School Class.

Dot was an active member of the Civic Club of St. Albans and the Highlawn Mothers' Club. A lifetime member of the National Education Association, she represented Kanawha County teachers at annual conventions all over the United States. She was a talented bridge player and played regularly with friends and some of the best players in the Kanawha Valley.

Preceded in death by her husband and three sisters, Maxine Harless of Lewisburg, Hannah Keeney of Witcher, and Helen "Benny" Metheny of Virginia, she is survived by her two sons, John and his wife Sharon of New Mexico and Pat of St. Albans; one sister, Mildred Keeney of Belle; two brothers, Albert "Buster" Keeney and his wife Juanita of Belle and George M. Keeney and his wife Frankie of Hurricane; five grandchildren: Courtney G. Schott and her husband Neal of Knoxville, TN; Jeremy Gwin of Las Cruces, NM; Charity Pihlaja and her husband Beau of Chicago; Lauren Spurlock and her husband Charles of Camp Lejeune, NC; and Sarah Johnson and her husband Jason of Las Cruces, NM; two great-grandsons; and thousands of cousins, nieces, and nephews scattered over the county, the state, and beyond.

A memorial service will be held at Highlawn Baptist Church, 2304 Jefferson Ave., St. Albans, on Saturday, June 11, 2005, at 11:00.

Cremation has taken place. Interment of Dorothy's and Adrian's ashes will be made in Witcher Creek Cemetery at a later date in a private ceremony.

In lieu of flowers, the family suggests any contributions be made in her name to:

Special Education Class, Highlawn Baptist Church, 2304 Jefferson Ave., St. Albans, WV  25177



Some of the family gathered at Highlawn Baptist Church in St. Albans on 11 June 2005 for Dot's memorial service. 
Front:  John Gwin, Lynn Lee Keeney Bright.  At tables: Juanita and Bus Keeney, Milly Keeney, George Keeney, Pat Gwin, Joe Keeney.
Standing: Amon Samples, Frankie Keeney, Becky Keeney Samples, David Smith, Jeannie Harless Smith, Suzanne Harless Gertz, Mary Harless Meadows,
Danny Keeney, Judy Metheny Lindley, Cathy Harless Norrell, Mack Keeney, Kevin Gertz, Lauren Gwin Spurlock, Courtney Gwin Schott, Kristen Gertz.




I'd told Mom shortly after Dad died in 2001 that I thought it would be good to scatter some of his ashes in Alabama where he was born and raised, some in New Orleans where he went to high school and college and met her, some in New Mexico where he'd lived his last year and a half, and some in WV where they had lived over 50 years of their lives.

Due to Mom's dementia, I had expected her reply to be something like, "That would be nice."

Instead, she sat up straight in her wheelchair (a rare occurrence), looked me straight in the eye (even rarer), and rather loudly and VERY emphatically said, "You will NOT. You will bury both his ashes and mine together at Witcher Creek Cemetery."

I smiled and said, "Yes ma'am, that's EXACTLY what we're going to do!" And she put her head back down on her pillow on the table, and that was that. We never spoke of it again. We didn't need to.

A day or two after Mom's memorial service, Pat and I found Hannah's grave at the Witcher Creek Cemetery and buried Mom's and Dad's ashes together there.



How to find their grave:

From Charleston, go east on I-64 to the Midland Trail exit which will put you on old Rt. 60 east, which follow up the river--past Campbell's Creek, Malden, DuPont, and Belle--to Witcher.

Turn left--north--and take Witcher's Creek Road about a mile or so to the large cemetery on the left. Pull in and park at the first gate, the one facing Kanawha River. This is a flat part of the cemetery; the hill, also covered with graves, is directly behind (north of) this flat, lower part.

Mom and Dad are buried about 80-100 feet  NORTHWEST of this NORTH-facing gate. (At the gate, turn half to your left--at an oblique angle.)

There is no marker yet, but their ashes are buried atop Hannah's grave which is clearly marked with a flat, double-wide stone (for her and Milly) marked KEENEY, then, smaller, their names on their respective sides, with the word SISTERS in between.

Below: the gravestone looking back down that oblique angle (southeast) toward the gate and the car parked where I told you to park.

Below: Facing 45 degrees to the left from the above picture--east--toward the fence, Witcher's Creek Road, and the creek:

Mom's and Dad's ashes are buried under the boxes in which they came from the crematorium. (The boxes are no longer there but were only used for reference in these pictures.)




Adrian Gwin Street,
connecting Old Highway 411 with New Highway 411 (Weiss Lake Boulevard), Centre, Cherokee Co., Alabama

[John M. Gwin Note:  I'm quite sure this street was not named for my father, Adrian Sutton Gwin; nevertheless, it's fun to know that it exists!]







Name: Adrian S Gwin
Birth Year: 1916
Race: White, citizen (White)
Nativity State or Country: Alabama
State: Louisiana
County or City: Orleans
Enlistment Date: 20 Nov 1942
Enlistment State: Louisiana
Enlistment City: New Orleans
Branch: Branch Immaterial - Warrant Officers, USA
Branch Code: Branch Immaterial - Warrant Officers, USA
Grade: Private
Grade Code: Private
Term of Enlistment: Enlistment for the duration of the War or other emergency, plus six months, subject to the discretion of the President or otherwise according to law
Component: Selectees (Enlisted Men)
Source: Civil Life

 
Education: 4 years of college
Civil Occupation:
Student Codes 0x, 2x, 4x and 6x as pertain to students will be converted, for machine records purposes, to the code number 992.
Marital Status: Married
Height: 70
Weight: 150




















.

Patrick Forsythe Gwin

(14 Feb 1951 - 19 Feb 2008)

.

Pat was my only brother. The younger of the two of us, he attended school at Highlawn Elementary, Shawkey Elementary, McKinley Junior High, and St. Albans High School (graduating in 1969) and West Virginia State College at Institute, WV.

At McKinley he played basketball, and at SAHS he ran cross country.

As a boy, Pat attended Highlawn Baptist Church in St. Albans and played church league basketball for them as well.

He also swam competitively in the summers for Highlawn Pool in St. Albans where his family were members.

He was active in the Boy Scouts, not only with me as a member of Troop 50 at Highlawn Baptist but also of a local Explorer post. A scouting highlight for both of us was spending ten days on the trail on the expedition to
the national scout ranch, New Mexico's Philmont, in June and July of 1966.

In the fall of 1970 he married Sheryl Ruffner, and they had two daughters, Courtney and Lauren.  When Pat and Sherry divorced, the girls moved to Huntington with their mother but visited Pat regularly in St. Albans.

His career working with hazardous chemicals at FMC in Nitro spanned some twenty years. He stayed with them until the plant sold out and shut down.

Pat loved to bowl, golf, and shoot pool and basketball with friends all over the valley. Camping and hunting were favorite pastimes. An expert marksman with many firearms, he was also an avid gun collector.

All his life, he loved to read. He was one of the most well-read people I know. He also was not-a-little obstinate, especially when he knew (or believed he knew) he was right. Once, in high school, he respectfully disagreed with his history teacher who had mistakenly stated that the U.S. had been unable to get any planes into the air to defend Pearl Harbor in the infamous 1941 attack. Pat had done some outside reading and knew the story--and the names--of the two pilots who actually did participate in the battle. The teacher asked if he was calling her a liar. "Well, if you put it that way, yes ma'am, I guess I am." He got sent to the office, and Mom had to go down and bail him out. Years later, Mom was watching Ted Koppel interview on Nightline one of the pilots who had indeed managed to get airborne. She was so excited that she looked up the number and called the teacher, by then retired (not only from teaching but also for the night!) just to tell her Pat had been right!  I wonder where Pat got that obstinance...

Pat married a second time in 1987 to Vonda Sigmon Mitchell, a South Charleston elementary school teacher. After their divorce, he became the primary caregiver for our aunt, Mother's only surviving sister.  When Milly finally had to move into an assisted living facility in Charleston before Christmas 2007, he continued living at her home until his death some weeks later.

Thanks, everyone, for the many cards, emails, and calls of condolence. We'll always miss him.

The following obituary appeared in

the Charleston Gazette and
the Charleston Daily Mail
on 22 Feb 2008:



Patrick Forsythe Gwin, 57, of Belle died Feb. 19, 2008.

Formerly of St. Albans, Patrick was a lifelong resident of West Virginia. A 20-year employee of FMC, he spent his last years as a caregiver for his aged aunt in Belle.

He was preceded in death by his parents, Adrian Sutton Gwin and Dorothy Lee Keeney Gwin.

Surviving are his daughters, Courtney Elaine Schott and her husband, Neal, of Knoxville, Tenn., and Lauren Elissa Spurlock of North Carolina; brother, John Gwin and his wife, Sharon, of Las Cruces, N.M.; two nieces and a nephew and their spouses; three aunts and an uncle; and hundreds of cousins and other friends in the Belle and St. Albans communities and throughout the state and nation.

In keeping with the family's wishes, the body has been cremated.

Fidler & Frame Funeral Home, Belle, is in charge of arrangements.

From: "Jessica.Szodruch" <jessica.szodruchatgmxdotde>
Date: February 28, 2008
To: "John Gwin" <jmcdgwin@zianet.com>
Subject: Pat Gwin

Dear John,
This is the how I'll always remember your brother. It was taken in 1983 on my first visit to your parents' house [i.e., at 7 Keiffer Drive, St. Albans, WV]. What a handsome guy he was.  May I ask what caused his death? Or is it too private to ask? Anyway, my thoughts and prayers are with you and his children and everyone who loved him.
Love,
Jessica






From the Obituary Guestbooks at Charleston Newspapers:

I was sorry to hear about Pat. He was a treasured friend from kindergarten on up. The Gwins (John, Pat, Dot, and Adrian) always made life more fun in my earlier years. Tom Jackson 2008-02-28

Lauren and Courtney (and families). So sorry to hear about your dad. We shared stories a number of times at the cafe in St. Albans, and he spoke of such pride for his daughters. Remember, he was an inspiring friend, and I'm sure the same with his daughters. All of you are in my prayers. Take care. Barbara Johnson 2008-02-27

Just wanted to say thank you to everyone for everything you've said. I miss him more than anything but I believe he's living the good life now! I'm also really sorry for all of you as well; you've all lost a friend (or cousin, there're a lot of us!). Thanks for thinking of us. Courtney 2008-02-26

John, Lauren, and Courtney, I am so sorry for your loss. I loved your brother/dad as a great friend and take comfort in knowing that he knew that. I will always remember his beautiful smile and what a goodhearted man he was. May God Bless and Comfort You. "Miss Zenda" 2008-02-26

God Speed Pat. Our sympathy to the family. Pat always challenged me on how fast I could complete the Sunday crossword or how many books I had read lately. He will be remembered for all the happy times in his life. Carole and David Shortt 2008-02-26

Dear Courtney and your family: We were so sorry to hear of the passing of your father. Please let us know if there is anything that we can do for you. Kelley, Michael, Kevin, Julie and Lois 2008-02-25

Pat we will really miss you. You are a special person. Dannny and Carla Hancock 2008-02-24

Dear John, Courtney, Lauren and family, Our thoughts and prayers are with you during this difficult time. Pat was a wonderful cousin, and I loved him dearly. I will never forget all the fun times I had at their house growing up. Love, Cathy Dan and Cathy Norrell and family 2008-02-24

To the Family: We were so saddened and shocked to hear of Pat's passing. We are so sorry. Pat used to come and sit in the summer mornings and have coffee with the two of us and tell stories for hours. We miss those happier times. Our hearts go out to you. Tom and Pam Thursack 2008-02-24

So sad for Pat to be gone, but he sure had the best parents you could have; they were wonderful and oh ever so exciting and talented!!!!!!! Rex Roberts 2008-02-23

Our deepest sympathy to the entire family. I was with Pat from the first grade to graduation and even Sunday school. I will always remember his sense of adventure and his aliveness. When I worked at the state house during the summers, I remember sitting with Adrian, and I remember their family car with the sticker of every state they had been in. A great family! Susan Snodgrass LeRose Susan Snodgrass and Larry LeRose 2008-02-23

Sorry that I don't know any of you, but I want to say to his daughters that I feel so bad that this happened. I was a neighbor of his on Orchard Ave. Yes, he was a very good man. My heart goes out to you. Susie Smith 2008-02-23

We just wanted John, Courtney and Lauren and their families to know that we mourn Pat's passing with you and pray that you know that God holds Pat in his loving hands. We hope you will know that we choose to remember Pat and you in a happier time. May God comfort you in this difficult time! Love, Randy and Suzie Randy and Suzie Humphreys 2008-02-23

Thank you everyone for your kind wishes and words. My daddy was a great man and I will miss him forever. Lauren 2008-02-23

So sorry about Pat; I worked with him at FMC for 19 years and he will be missed. He was a "one-of-a-kind" ... so smart and so full of personality. Jeanne Hewett Skipper, Melbourne, FL Jeanne Hewett Skipper 2008-02-23

Dearest Courtney & Lauren, I was so saddened to learn of your dad's passing. I will hold both of you and your families in my heart and prayers. In the meantime, I'll picture the joy felt by Dot and Adrian when they welcomed their youngest son home. With love, Kris Dunlap 801 Washington Avenue Nitro, WV 25143 Kris Dunlap 2008-02-23

I am so sorry to hear about Pat. He was my neighbor here in Belle...He was a very quiet man. He will surely be missed... April Young 2008-02-23

Dear Family, My heart goes out to you at this time. When I was growing up, my almost-brother Pat put many a smiles on my face. May those smiles continue, now, up in Heaven, with Dot and Adrian. Love, Robin robin dunlap elley 2008-02-23

My condolences to the family. Pat was a dear friend during high school, and although we went separate ways, I thought of him often and remember his unique spirit. Kay Jordan 2008-02-23

There are no words that could adequately express my deep sorrow for your loss. Your entire family was more than loving and giving to me, and I will always keep you close to my heart. May God bring you peace in this most difficult time. Vonda 2008-02-23

Pat told me of fond memories of times with friends, fishing by a river, on a camping trip to Maine, or other hours spent outdoors. I'm thinking of him now, by a warm splashing stream, or by a campfire under a starry sky. Sending every deep wish for their peace in their own memories to John, Courney, Lauren, and all. Cindy Dunlap Ellis 2008-02-23

John: Was saddened to read of the passing of Pat. I know he had some rough times and will never forget him and the good times we had during our childhood. Mac Gray Mac Gray 2008-02-23

John, I worked with Pat at FMC, Nitro. He was in the plant and I in the Lab. I remember him talking about you and your years in the service. He told me about your mother's ability to play several bridge games at once. He showed me a ring that he wore that was a puzzle and I think you may have given it to him. We worked together for twenty-eight years, so even though we seldom saw each other there were many short conversations. I am so very sorry about his passing. There were many fellow employees who were very upset at the circumstances of his death. My late condolences, I didn't know until a week afterwards. He was a good, decent man and it was obvious that he came from a fine family with proper upbringing.  JoeAnn Marcum Crawford  2014-08-01




Charleston Daily Mail
February 20, 2008
County man's body found in ditch
A truck driver found the body of a Belle man this morning in a ditch near the man's home, police said.

Patrick Gwin, 57, of Belle, apparently died of natural causes, State Police Sgt. K.G. McCord said Tuesday in a news release. State Police troopers were called to the scene on Orchard Avenue around 8 a.m.

There are no indications of foul play in the death of Gwin, whose body was sent to the state Medical Examiner's office for an autopsy, McCord said.

Alcohol and cold temperatures may have played a role in the death, he said. His body was found next to the road, but he did not appear to have been hit by a vehicle.




More Photos of Pat
Most of the following came from two of Dot's old photo albums she'd given to her sister Bennie.
In February 2014, Aunt Bennie's baby, my sweet cousin Jennifer Metheny Tolbert,
sent the albums back to me, knowing that we'd like to have these old pics!
If you have others you'd like me to share with us all, please feel free
to email them to me at jmcdgwin@zianet.com.  Thanks!  :-)



Earl Benton took this at 2415 Monroe Ave. on 18 Feb 1951, Pat's fourth day on the outside.
Note his birth certificate from Dunn Hospital on the bedstand behind me.


About age one on the sidewalk in front of the Gwin home, 2415 Monroe Ave., St. Albans, WV



Pat, same age and outfit as above, different unknown place, with Cousin Jeannie, Mother, and me.  Jeannie lived with us for several years while getting her degree from Morris Harvey College (now the University of Charleston).


In the front yard at 2415 Monroe Ave. on 30 Aug 1953



In the front yard at 2415 Monroe Ave. on the same day, 30 Aug 1953 with cousins Dorothy Jane and Suzanne Harless and me.  (Jeff Frame, can you see the two cars parked across the street in front of your house?)


That same summer, 1953, we visited Mother's college friend (Thelma?) Twaddel, at her parents' home in Newport, KY (near Cincinnati).  Pat is delighted to be in his daddy's picture!



Same day, Twaddels' front porch.


On Mawmaw's 74th birthday, 8 Sep 1953, at her dining room table, with four Gwins and Jeannie.  Pat was two and a half.



The summer of 1961 we took Aunt Maude to the beach to see the ocean (she'd never been out of Kanawha County before that time!) and we stopped at Monticello.  What a treat for her!  Pat and I were 10 and 13.



School Picture
Highlawn Elementary?
Shawkey Elementary?
McKinley Junior High School?




School Picture
Highlawn Elementary?
Shawkey Elementary?
McKinley Junior High School?
St. Albans High School?



School Picture
Highlawn Elementary?
Shawkey Elementary?
McKinley Junior High School?
St. Albans High School?




Rocky was visiting at 7 Keiffer, and Pat was enjoying showing him the noisy monkey...


Scratch riding the Honda with Pat in the alley behind their Wilson Ave. home in St. Albans.



Pat, Sherry, and days-old Courtney, 29 Sept 1976




Not quite 16 years later, Pat and Courtney share a hug on her 16th birthday, September 1983, at 7 Keiffer by the new back door Buster installed.



    Reprise:  Some of the family gathered at Highlawn Baptist Church in St. Albans on 11 June 2005 for Dot's memorial service. 

Front:  John Gwin, Lynn Lee Keeney Bright.  At tables: Juanita and Bus Keeney, Milly Keeney, George Keeney, Pat Gwin, Joe Keeney.
Standing: Amon Samples, Frankie Keeney, Becky Keeney Samples, David Smith, Jeannie Harless Smith, Suzanne Harless Gertz, Mary Harless Meadows, Danny Keeney, Judy Metheny Lindley, Cathy Harless Norrell, Mack Keeney, Kevin Gertz, Lauren Gwin Spurlock, Courtney Gwin Schott, Kristen Gertz.










A Girl, a Guy, and Good Intentions:  A True Love Story
by Dorothy Lee Keeney Gwin
with Courtney Elaine Gwin


* * *  I  * * *

    For lack of suitable names, I’ll just call her Girl and him Guy.  Girl had just rented a room at Guy’s mother’s house two days before.
    She was sitting on the porch swing listening to the sounds of the night.  A street car rumbled by, crowded with noisy people talking loud to be heard over the clamor of the street car.  After it was gone, a quietness settled over the evening.
    She was thinking, “I want to see that show, but would it be foolish to walk the six blocks to the neighborhood theater by myself this late?”
    Just then a bicycle swung into the yard and a young man jumped off.
    “Hey!” she cried out impetuously.  “Have you seen that movie with Ronald Reagan and Rita Hayworth?”
    He came over to the porch step to see who was talking.  “Oh, hello,” he said, “and to answer your question, no, I haven’t.”
    “Well, would you go and take me with you?” she asked eagerly.
    “Sure!” he said.  Then ruefully pulling out the lining of his pockets, added, “But I’m broke!  Plumb, flat broke.”
    “Oh, I’ll pay,” said Girl, “if you go.”
    “OK,” he said, “wait ’til I put away my bike.”
    When he returned, she was waiting, and she handed him a small coin purse.
    They talked little as they walked at a fast gait to the theater.  “I hope we get there before the last show starts,” she said.  He quickened his pace, and she had to almost run to keep up with him.
    At the theater, he paid the twenty cents for their two tickets, and in they went.  He whispered, “How far down do you want to sit?”
    “About half way.”
    The main feature had just started.  She never took her eyes off the screen.  The one time he started to say something, she rebuffed him with a quick, “Shhh!”
    But when the story got to the part where the hero had to lose his legs, she started crying.  He quickly reached into his pocket and handed her a clean handkerchief.
    As they were walking home, she was very quiet.  It had been raining, and suddenly he reached up and vigorously shook a tree limb over her head.
    “Hey!” she cried.  “What did you do that for?”
    “I had to get your attention some way.”
    Girl laughed, “Well, you sure did,” wiping her face with his handkerchief she still had in her hand.
    Guy waited ’til they got to the house, then asked, “How about my handkerchief?”
    “When I get back my coin purse,” she said, holding out her hand. 
    He quickly handed her the purse.  “Thanks for the movie.”
    “Thank you for going,” she replied.  “Good night.”  And quickly she walked into the house.
    She quietly opened the door of the room she rented and shared with a girl from Mexico.  She didn’t want to awaken Alicia.
    Next morning she was packing a small bag, planning to spend the weekend over on the coast.  There came a knock on the door.  It was Guy’s mother.  She handed Girl a dime.
    “I think that’s what it costs to get in a movie these days,” she said.  “I don’t want my son to be a gigolo.”  And before Girl could say a word, she closed the door and was gone.

* * *  II  * * *

    The weekend at the beach was fun, but she had stayed in the sun too long, and now she had a sunburned back.  When she was getting ready for bed, Alicia noticed her back and said, “I fix!”  Alica didn’t speak English fluently.  But the lotion she carefully spread on Girl’s back felt cool and soothing.
    The next morning when Girl was picking up her books to go to school, there was another knock at the door.  It was Guy’s mother again.  I’m going to North Carolina today to meet my new daughter-in-law,” she said.  If you two girls want to use the kitchen to fix your meals, you’re welcome.  I won’t be back for two weeks.”  And again she was gone.
    The first week turned out to be really fun.  They shared their home-made meals with Guy, who seemed to be particularly interested in helping Alicia with her English.
    One day they had a picnic in the back yard.  Girl had invited a friend or two from school, and Alicia invited the lady next door whom she’d met and liked very much.
    They also walked in the park several times, Alicia always carrying her Spanish-English dictionary.  Guy could speak Spanish much better than Girl could, but Alica insisted on speaking only English.
    On Friday, Girl’s friend, Lucille (who had been to the backyard picnic) invited Girl to a party at her apartment.  “Starts at eight,” she said.  “Bring Guy with you.”
    “If he’ll come,” she said.  “He doesn’t stick around the house much at night.” 
    But when she asked him, he seemed eager to accept.  “Sure,” he said.  “Casual or dress-up?”
    “I think it’s Come-As-You-Are,” she said, and added impishly, “and it’s free!”  The look on his face showed resentment, but he held his tongue.
    “Just kidding!” Girl said quickly, and turned to Alicia, “You’re invited, too.”
    Alicia said, “NO.  Tonight I sleep!”
    The party was in full swing when they arrived, and Guy seemed to know everyone.  He hardly noticed Girl; she was sorry she’d asked him.
    But on the way home, he suddenly said, “Thanks for asking me.  It was good to see kids I hadn’t seen for months.”  Girl started to make some bright remark about his inattentiveness, but he continued.  “Want to go biking with me in the morning?”
    “I don’t have a bike!”
    “I’ll furnish the bikes…”  He hesitated a second, then added, “…for free.”
    “Too-Shay!”  Girl said, laughing.  “Now we’re even.  What time?”
    “I’ll have the bikes at the front door at seven,”  he said.  “It’ll be too hot if we go much later.”

* * *   III   * * *

    At ten to seven, Girl was sitting on the front steps.  But she didn’t have to wait long.  Guy came around the house, carefully guiding two bikes. 
    “Try this for size,” he said, pushing a girl’s bike toward her.  She rode it up and down the sidwalk.  “It’s fine,” she said.  “Now, where shall we go?”
    “The other day you mentioned that you missed seeing hills.  Well, I’m taking you to see a hill this morning.”  And he started riding toward the park.
    Girl followed but said nothing.  She thought, The only hill he can show me in this flat town is an ant hill.
    They rode into the park—past the swimming pool, past the little zoo, into a part of the park she had never been.  She was getting tired.  “How much farther?” Girl asked.
    “Just around the next bend.”
    And sure enough, around the next bend there was a hill!  I was about as high as a three-story building, but it was a hill!  As they parked their bikes and started up the little path, Guy reached back and took Girl’s hand.  “We’ll rest when we get to the top,” he said.
    She said nothing but realized she was glad he had hold of her hand.  At the top she sat down on the grass.
    “The city school system had this hill built to show little kids what a hill is,” he said.  And he sat down beside her.
    For several moments they just sat there, enjoying the cool of the morning.  Guy reached over and stroked her hair. 
    “Your hair is mighty pretty with the sun shining on it,” he said.  When she turned to look at him, he leaned over and kissed her quickly.
    Suddenly she thought of Bob.  She hadn’t thought of him for a week.  But for the past seven years she had dated him—and in fact, she thought she was in love with him.
    “Penny for your thoughts!” said Guy, snatching her back to reality.  She said nothing for a few moments, then abruptly, “I’m hungry!”
    “Good!” said Guy, reaching for the saddlebag he had had on his bike.  Out came four doughnuts and a pint thermos of coffee.  He filled the thermos cup and handed it to her.  “There’s no cream, but here’s sugar if you want it.”  They ate the doughnuts and drank the coffee in silence.
    “We’d better go,” he said finally.  “I’ve got lots to do today.
    That night, Girl’s back was giving her fits.  Her week-old sunburn was peeling and itching.  Nothing seemed to help.  Alicia was out with a friend.  Girl heard someone whistling outside.  She went out on the porch, and there sat Guy, whistling “Oh, Susanna”.
    “I’m looking for someone to scratch my back,” Girl said sweetly.  “Would you?”
    Guy made room for her on the swing.   “That’s a bad burn you’ve got.  Your whole back is peeling.”
    “That’s the first sunburn I ever had,” she said, leaning a little closer to him.  And immediately his arms were around her, holding her tight.
    He said, “You know something?  I think I’m falling in love with you.”
    Girl said nothing.  Her mind was back home again—thinking of Bob.  They’d had lots of fun together, but in all those years, he’d never said he loved her.  And here was Guy, whom she didn’t really know, holding her in his arms and saying he loved her.  The funny thing is, she mused silently, I feel right at home here in his arms.  Out loud, she said, “I must be homesick.”
    “Well,” said guy, “next time you’re homesick, let me know,” and he gently released her and walked off the porch.
    Girl just sat there, hoping he would come back, but finally she went in and went to bed.

* * *    IV    * * *

    Next morning Alicia reminded her that she had a paper due the coming Friday.  Girl decided to go to the library and spend the whole day gathering material for the paper.  But much of the time she let her thoughts wander to Guy.  What did he do?  What was he really like?  And she thought, at this rate I’ll NEVER get this paper done!
    She hurried back to her room hoping she’d see Guy.  But he was nowhere around.  Nor did she see him the rest of the week.  But then she was at the library most of the week. 

    On Saturday, she stayed in her room; she’d turned down Alicia’s invitation to spend the day at the Lakefront.  There was no one in the house all day but her.  It was getting dark, and suddenly she heard his whistling.  She had to really make an effort to keep from running out on the porch, and when she saw him, she wanted to snuggle up in the swing beside him.  Instead, she sat in a chair.
    “Where have you been all week?” he said.
    “Mostly at the Tilton Library, working on a paper that was due yesterday,” she said.  “And what have you been doing all week?”
    He didn’t answer.  Then he said.  “I’m leaving for camp in the morning.  Be gone for three weeks.”
    Her heart sank.  Three weeks!  School would be out, and she’d be going home!  But she didn’t say anything.
    Suddenly he asked playfully, “Wouldn’t you like to share the swing with me, please?”
    Not wanting to sound too eager, she answered, “Perhaps.”
    When the move was made, he casually put his arm around her shoulders.  “When will you be going home?”
    “In three weeks,” she replied.
    He pulled her over to him and kissed her gently.  “I’ll miss you,” he said, and got up and went upstairs.  Girl got up and went to her room.
    Sunday she woke early.  She heard him walking around upstairs.  She got up and dressed hurriedly, hoping he’d stop and say good-by.  But he didn’t.
   
* * *    V    * * *

    Monday she rode the streetcar back to “The Home” where she would be for the next three weeks.  All the children were glad to see her.  It would be good to fall back into the routine of the The Home.
    Later in class, she learned that classes had been called off until Friday!  The faculty was hosting a three-day seminar.  Three whole days to do something, and no one to do it with!
    That evening Girl was sitting at her desk in the infirmary of the Home, where she was on duty from seven to ten.  At almost ten, the phone rang.  She said hello and listened.  “I’ll be over there in about ten minutes,” Guy said, and hung up.  Girl was shaking.  She tidied up her desk and ran down to her room, passed a comb through her hair, then ran out to the big front door to wait for him.  Shortly he came riding up the walk on his bicycle.
    She ran down the walk to meet him.  He hugged her tight, then kissed her.  When he released her, she asked, “How come you’re back?”
    “The camp director decided to take the week to give the place a thorough cleaning.  So he won’t need me until next Sunday,” said Guy.
    “What a great coincidence,” said Girl.  “Classes at school have been cancelled ’til Friday.  I’m free for the next three days.”
    He hugged her again.  “I’ll be around about ten in the morning, and we’ll paint the town red!”  She laughed and squeezed his hand.
   
* * *    VI    * * *

    In the morning, he was waiting at the door when she came out.  They caught a streetcar and rode downtown.  They wandered through the old part of the city, browsing the antique stores and the coin shops.   
    When they came to the court house, Guy said, “Let’s check in here.  Wonder what you have to do to get married.”  Girl’s heart leaped, but outwardly she seemed calm.
    “Won’t hurt to see,” she said.  There was a sign on the door:  “Notice.  The three-day waiting period to get married has been lifted.  All that’s required is that the man have a blood test.”
    They went into the foyer, and the elevator attendant asked if they were going to get married.  Guy said, “We’re more interested in what we have to do to get married.”
    The attendant said, “ You have to have cash to pay the fees.  You have to have witnesses, the blood test certificate, and be here about four.  Judge doesn’t start weddings ’til about four.”
    Guy thanked him, and they left the building.
   
“Who can we get for witnesses?” Guy mused.  Girl said, “I could call a couple of counselors from The Home.  Wonder what a ring would cost!”
    Guy took her arm.  “Let’s walk down to Hausman’s and see,” he said.
    At the jewelry store they found a plain gold band she liked—for five dollars.  The jeweler offered to engrave it free.  “Pick it up in two hours,” he said.
    “I better round up our two witnesses,” she said, and Guy replied, “I better take a walk up the street to see a doctor friend of mine.  You stay here ’til I get back.”
    She asked permission of the jeweler to use the phone, called The Home, and got her friend Rose, who was overjoyed at the news.  Girl said, “And Rose, go into my room and bring the five dollars in pennies I’ve saved up this summer.”
    Rose was so enthusiastic, she was sure everyone at The Home would want to contribute toward buying Girl a wedding present.  But Girl said, “If it’s all the same to you, just bring me the money!  Meet us at Hausman’s Jewelry as soon as you can.”
   
* * *    VII    * * *   

    When Guy returned, he waved a paper at Girl and said, “Clean bill of health!” then folded the certificate and put it in his wallet.
    Guy asked to use the phone.  Shortly he was back.
    “The honeymoon’s arranged.  Two days and two nights and at the camp for underprivileged kids—including meals!”
    “Where?” she asked.
    He said, “ Over on the coast.  We can catch the train at eight tonight.  That’ll give us time to go home and pack a few clothes, and we can be at camp by ten thirty or eleven.”
    Just then Rose and her friend Honore walked in.  They hugged Girl and shook hands with Guy, and Rose said, “Here’re your pennies.  And we collected $8.70.  Everyone’s wishing you good luck and happiness.”
    The ring was ready.  Girl paid for it with the pennies.  Guy put the ring in his pocket, and they all walked down to the court house.  It was a quarter of four.  The elevator attendant saw they had only two witnesses.  “You need three.  Wait ’til I get off at four, and I’ll stand up with you,” he said.
    “Great!” Guy agreed.
    Upstairs in the courtroom, everyone waiting was nervous.  Girl held tightly to Guy’s hand.  The first couple to go into the judge’s chamber was out in about five minutes.  The second couple was out even sooner.  Then Girl heard their names called.  The elevator man had just gotten off, and the five of them went into the judge’s office.  Guy gave the clerk the necessary information, then they all lined up before the judge’s desk.
    Girl looked at Guy, and there were tears in her eyes.  “I don’t have any flowers!” she half sobbed.  He quickly took out his wallet and, after a brief search, handed her a pressed four-leaf clover.
    The judge stood, looking out the window, and started reciting the ceremonial words.  He rattled it off so rapidly that no one could understand a word he said.  But when he got to the last, he said, louder and quite distinctly, “I now pronounce you man and wife.  Pay the court eight dollars: one dollar for the clerk, two dollars for the recording, and FIVE DOLLARS FOR THE JUDGE!  NEXT!”
    She looked at him and whimpered, “Are we married?” 
    He didn’t answer as he hurried her out the door.  They agreed to meet at the train station at 7:30.
    The three girls caught the streetcar back to the Home, and Girl packed her little bag for her two-day honeymoon.  She carefully put away her wedding clothes: yellow linen skirt, white eyelet blouse, and white bobby socks.  “I’ll have to wear my saddle oxfords,” she said aloud, “they’re all the shoes I own.”
   
* * *    VIII    * * *

    At 7:30 everyone was at the station, and the train was just coming in.  Everyone was hugging and kissing, but finally Girl broke free, and she and Guy boarded the train.  When they got to their stop two hours later, they had a mile-long walk to the camp. 
    The camp director met them and told Guy which was their cabin.  Inside, it was obvious someone had worked hard.  All the cots had been stacked at one end of the cabin, half-hidden by the hastily-made curtain of bed sheets.  Sheets also hung at the windows.  Someone had located an old iron double bed.  The scrubbed bare floor was spotless.  Bouquets of bright-colored autumn wildflowers were everywhere in the room.
    But the flowers weren’t there for long.  The bride had begun to sneeze, and it was obvious that she was allergic to every one of them!  What a way to start a honeymoon!



[John M. Gwin Note: 
    My father, Adrian S. Gwin, was born and raised in Alabama.  His  widowed mom and family had moved to New Orleans during the Depression, bought a house near the Tulane campus, and rented out rooms to students.  By the summer of 1942, Dad’s siblings had married and moved out, leaving only Dad and his mom to run the boarding house. 
     My mother, Dorothy Lee Keeney Gwin, was born and raised in West Virginia.  A new school teacher, she went to New Orleans the summer of 1942 to take a class at Tulane and work at the Jewish Children’s Home, renting a room at the Gwins’ boarding house.  They were married 11 August 1942 at the court house in New Orleans and moved to West Virginia for the first 57 years of their marriage.
    Growing up, my brother Pat and I heard the story often of how our parents had met and married.  When Pat’s daughter and our parents’ first grandchild, Courtney, was a precocious elementary school student, she helped Mom type this account.  Adrian and Dot moved to Las Cruces, New Mexico, the fall of 1999.  Dad died in 2001 and Mom in 2005.]