By Ralphine Major
(Part 2 in series on Dwight Kessel)
He was born on a cold, rainy and snowy Saturday night in a four-room coal company house in Dehue, Logan County, West Virginia. On November 27, 1926, Wallace Dwight Kessel was the first child born to Wayne McCormick Kessel and Edith Shumate Kessel. “Being born and raised in a coal camp during the 1930s depression was a valuable experience. Everybody was ‘poor,’ but nobody seemed to know it,” Kessel said. “Everyone banded together for improving their surroundings and helping those who weren’t quite able to help themselves.”
It is fascinating to learn about the childhood years of Dwight Kessel and the people and events that shaped his life—-about his father who kept the family “above the brink of poverty where poverty was the rule;” about lard sandwiches some children brought to school prompting a group of mothers to set up a kitchen to provide nourishment of beans and cornbread; about the Kessel grandparents who regularly shipped eggs to the family by parcel post in wooden crates; and about playing cowboys and Indians (a drastic change from today’s game boards and computers). There is no shortage of stories from Kessel’s early life in West Virginia. He shares one of those stories.
“When I was about five years old, I was amazed at people buying little pine trees for Christmas. After Christmas, I took my wagon and a friend and went down the alley and picked up some used Christmas trees. We then took them down the walk, in front of the houses, and sold them back to some former owners. When I got home with the money, mother asked me what I had been doing and told me to take the money back, but everyone made me keep the money because they thought it was funny.” (To be continued)
Kessel shares Words of Faith from Matthew 6:14 (KJV): “For if ye forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you.”
Picture of Wallace Dwight Kessel in new bib overalls at 18 months, courtesy of Dwight Kessel.