NCWVCAA Head Start Program Shares “50 Years Ago” Memories From Preston County Head Start Participant
RA Ponzurick, NCWVCAA Children’s Services Director for Head Start and Early Head Start
Back in the summer of 1965, Alfred “Wade” Gibson, son of Edward and Martha Gibson from the Hudson/Mt. Nebo area near Valley Point in Preston County, was one of the participants to complete the first project HEAD START child development course. Wade reports his parents probably put him in Head Start since they lived so far out on the farm thinking that it would get him around other children before he started school. He did not have anyone near them to play with and his siblings ranged from 9-17 years older than him. They did not offer Kindergarten back then so he went from Head Start to First Grade. He said it was a really good experience and is surprised that he remembers so much about it.
Wade shared the following memories of Head Start as reported to and by his wife, Kim Gibson, who works as a County Service Assistant for the North Central WV Community Action Association agency in Preston County. “It’s remarkable what you remember from 50 years ago” so Kim has listed what he shared with her as his Head Start story:
Miss Temple was his teacher who lived in the Howesville area. Unfortunately, he saw in the paper where she passed away a few years ago. Barbara White, from Kingwood, used to come to the farm and pick him up in her station wagon (bus) along with other children on the same route and take them to the school in Albright. There were no child restraints back then and she would have several children in the vehicle. Barbara is still alive and in her upper 80’s. Wade still sees her now and then…she was in his building supply store just last week and he always gives her a hug and a smile. Little things really mean a lot to the elderly and my husband is a very thoughtful and kind person. He remembers on the last day of school that Barbara White gave all the kids she drove chocolate coins. He said they were as big as 50-cent pieces. The desks they used where not made for such small children so they improvised by putting a wooden board that was probably 2 -3 inches thick for them to step on to get in the chair and to rest their feet on. Remembers playing with Lincoln Logs because that was his favorite toy then. Ironically we live in a log house today that he built in 1982. Remembers the border above the chalk board had the alphabet showing printed and cursive letters. Mixing up the paint powder with water and having fun painting although he now leaves all the painting to me. Always started the day with the “Pledge of Allegiance” and to this day we always start our HOG (Harley Davidson) meetings the same way and are proud to do so. Started Head Start with a lot of the same friends that he graduated with and still sees them to this to this day.
Wade works at Eckert’s, a building supply store that is owned by his brother in Preston County. He started working there after school when he was 12 years old and started full time the day after he graduated. Still works there today…only job he has ever had.
I (Kim) hope his memories of Head Start can inspire teachers to continue the meaningful connection with their students. Sometimes it’s the really small day to day activities that make the biggest impact in a child’s life. I have heard my husband refer to attending Head Start for many years mainly because he still sees Barbara White. Incidentally, I (Kim) have met her and she is the sweetest older lady with a wonderfully kind smile.
Story told by Kim Gibson, Wife of Wade Gibson.