From the Heart of Ramrod - Wheelwright, Kentucky

Dedicated to my father. A loving dad who I never grew up with, but who has been with me all my life.



The stories on this website are not to be copied, or used, without my permission!

Rod Clark

I would love to hear from you and appreciate feedback.

A major part of my childhood was spent growing up in Wheelwright, Kentucky. My stories are taken from my life experiences. I wanted to pen them so that they do not become lost in time. They are precious memories that helped to shape my life. I share them in hopes that you, the reader, will enjoy, and maybe you too, will be encouraged to write down memories that belong to you!



I was born in...

...Wheelwright, a coal mining town in Eastern Kentucky. The area was interesting in many ways. It had a diverse culture as there were Lithuanians, Polish, Blacks, Russians, and American Indians. Each lived in a section of town they preferred, not because of segregation, but it was a choice. We never talked of prejudices.

My formative years were rich in lessons I learned from my parents and my grandfather. I could write a book about my Dad’s life. He would tell us stories of his teenage years. His father died when he was just a young boy. He helped his Mom, going to work early to help support her. There were seven boys and one girl that she was left to raise. He told me the story of his first car, a roadster. He got caught with a stolen pig in the rumble seat. He learned his lesson. He told me a story about a small boy who had asked what to do if you wanted something so bad you couldn’t stand it. His Dad responded by telling him to ‘pray, because every time you pray, God will answer you. The child came back in a week and said God had not answered. The father replied, He did answer you, he said ‘no’. The moral, is God knows best.

I remember so vividly my parents telling me, ‘we never give you anything that you do not earn’. They taught me to remember these things: ‘earn our trust’, ‘tell the truth’, ‘respect other people’s feelings’, and most of all, ‘believe in God’. If you lose these, my Dad would say, you will have to start all over again, and the second time around takes a long time to earn those things that you have possessed. It is my opinion that family values, good friends, and a faith in God can do more to shape a child’s life than anything else he or she can encounter. And today, I believe strongly that our children are our future. We, as adults, need to make sure that children are taught these values. And so I begin my stories of many of my childhood memories and how they shaped my life.

When I was very young, my Dad began working as a construction foreman. The company was under a U.S. Government contract. . Our family was to be moved around to different military facilities in different states. At the outbreak of World War II, he was assigned to Newport News, Virginia to the shipyards. After that, he was sent to the Fontana Dam project in North Carolina. Later we moved to Pensacola, Florida where he worked at the Naval Base. A later assignment after that was Oak Ridge, Tennessee. It was an exciting life. Living in Oak Ridge was interesting as the atomic bomb was being developed; we had to show our passes to get inside the gates.

There seemed to be many secrets in the area. I remember being troubled about them and I had trouble sleeping at night. We had heard rumors, saw the security gates, and were told that a scientist, who was aware of the things going on, lived across the street from us. It was difficult to deal with these things at such a young age. I talked to Dad about my fears and he told me they were natural when hearing things about the ‘bomb’. However, he said, men working in the coal mines in Kentucky was dangerous, driving too fast in cars was dangerous, many things had the possibility of not being safe. But we were to trust in the Lord, and we felt secure due to family love and support. There were humorous stories, as well as some difficult things that happened to us.

My sister, Sybil, who was a couple of years younger, went out the morning after we moved in and was immediately met by some new friends. Dan and Ken joined her as she was sitting on the white coal box that sat outside the house. And even though young, they welcomed her to the neighborhood.