Faces Behind the Dust
Faces Behind the Dust
The story told through the eyes of a coal miner’s daughter (on the black side)
Perfect Bound Softcover
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This book begins about a precocious, nosey little girl, who has eavesdropping down to a science. The stories surrounding this coal mining community are about family, neighbors and friends. ClaraBy loves her Daddy. The drama of this book will have you laughing and crying, as she grows into womanhood along this journey.

She is struck with sorrow at the loss of her best friend, and worries about her father and brothers when tragedy struck. Also sees her father growing weary over the years as his health deteriorates. Her sister is a fast “breeder”, who seems to be caught by the “BIG BIRD” every year or so with cute little gremlins. There are racial issues that took place in the early 1950’s and 60’s during the period of integration. ClaraBy begins to grow into a lovely young lady who is trying hard not to let her hormones get the best of her. This book is the beginning of her life and she has a lot of living to do. “HELLO WORLD!!” HER COMES CLARABY ROSE!! (book 2).

Clara---BY!!, Claraaa--BY!!, Thea-Thea would call me on the front porch as it was approaching dust dark. Clara--BY!!, Claraaaaa--BYYYYYY!!!!! The last part of my name always rang out louder than the first part as she bellowed it out. Russell said, “Baby Girl, you hear Thea-Thea calling you, git home!!,” as he hit another basket in the make shift hoop. YES MA’AM, I’M COMING, I bellowed, as I ran up the road, looking back longingly at the older kids still playing, including my two brothers, who could stay out longer than I could, as I was only 5 years old. By now, Ludie had gone in for the day. She went to bed quite early every evening. What a crock of “shit,” I thought as I ran up the road. “OOPS,” did I think the “s” word? You bet your sweet “Beeee-Hind” I did. You see us (chilluns) were pretty nosy during that time. We were not allowed to stay in the same room as the “grown ups,” but we certainly had our way of listening and looking in on them when they were having their private conversations, about Mr. A going in Mr. B’s back door to lay up with Ms. C, when he left going to work in the mines. Seems like there was a lot of that going on in every coal camp in the county. MINDING MY OWN BUSINESS I just happened to be minding my own business, in my own room, playing with my own dolls until one lazy evening, the ladies started to gather on our front porch for an evening of catching up. Daddy was out back working in the garden, my brothers were out and about, and Big Sis was off with her “BEAU.” I tipped down the steps and positioned myself by the window next to the front door, so as to be able to make a quick get away when necessary. Ms. Katie, Ms. Nellie, Ant Cellie and Ms. Francine came up the hill laughing and talking trash. Thea-Thea asked, what’s so funny? Ant Cellie fell in a chair laughing so hard she could hardly talk. The other women were laughing just as hard, so Ant Cellie finally said, “whee,” as she tried to tell Thea-Thea what Ms. Katie had just said; “Shit Nellie,” you know that baby ain’t Tom‘s. Ms. Nellie laughed and said, and what did I tell her, I politely told her to mind hu own damn business,” I’m just like hu, MAMA‘S BABY, DADDY‘S MAYBE.” I didn’t understand what that meant, but they died laughing, slapping their legs, throwing their heads back. Honey child, Ms. Katie said, ain’t dat the God’s truth, cause Elbert thinks Little Jim’s his, I just let him think what he wants to, ‘cause I hea’r he’s got one down the road apiece, so honey child I learned a long time ago, if you can’t take it, don’t dish it out… I stopped git-ing mad, and got ev’n…..they all laughed, as she said to Thea-Thea, GIRL, ain’t you got nothing to drink? Thea-Thea said, “sho” have come on let’s go to the kitchen. They all got up to go inside as Thea-Thea said, you gossiping hens, one of these days you gonna be talking ‘bout somebody and she gonna be sitting right next to ‘ya’, and all “HELL” is gonna break loose. You have heard about reaping what you sow. Right? Ms. Francine said kindly, I just don’t think Cecil would ever do anything that would hurt me, knowing we got that sick child and all. He’s so DEDICATED, she bragged. Ms. Francine and Mr. Cecil are Ludie’s parent Thea-Thea said under her breathe, “Oh Lord,” as she scooted her chair back and got up. Uh-UUum grunted Ant Cellie, (who is my Thea-Thea’s sister,) whose name is Cecilia, getting up out of her chair, casting an eye at Thea-Thea who was remembering what Ant Cellie had told her one breathless afternoon as she burst through the screen door…………… I was again, minding my own business, AND who just happened to be on the back porch playing “jacks“ by myself, when with my “SHERLOCK HOLMES” ears I heard Ant Cellie declare: “You can’t breath a word of this, promise Thea-Thea, promise, you have to take this secret to your grave!” Thea-Thea was standing with her hand over her mouth with a look of complete terror as she says, CEEEEEE-LEEEEE, WHAT’S HAPPENED!!!! Knowing she had frightened Thea-Thea, Ant Cellie says calmly, holding up her right pinky finger, “give me your pinky.” Thea-Thea knows then that there was nothing wrong, well at least not in the family, this was their childhood way of trust they still carried….. Sooooooooooo!! With a sisterly “pinky finger” oath, she reveals: “I had cooked a pot of pinto beans, A--A AND, AND they was too much for just me, so I took some over to AnnaBelle’s so she could have ‘em for her kids she says breathlessly, pacing the floor, wringing her hands. Thea-Thea with a worried look on her face, screeched…… AND, AND WHATTT CELLIE???? Ant Cellie said “WELL,” I walked upon the porch, she demonstrates, and knocked and opened the screen door at the same time saying “KNOCK, KNOCK!!! She said excitedly, “CHILLLLD,” Cecil had AnnaBelle in a bear hug behind the stove getting it “ONNN.” Thea-Thea said “Oh Lord!!“ Ant Cellie flops down in a kitchen chair and says disgustedly, he’s got to have a burn on his ass, cause he fell back on the stove pipe, as he bent over to pull up his pants. Thea-Thea covers her mouth and groans as Ant Cellie continues. AnnaBelle was hysterical, I was apologizing that I hadn‘t knocked ‘stead of busting in, Ant Cellie screeches. But then I got mad, I mean I was ticked. The two of ’em standing there looking like they had been caught with their hand in the cookie jar. I started in on Cecil,“YOU” I screamed, he ran like a scalded dog. AnnaBelle was standing there trembling, like a wilted flower, begging and pleading for me not to tell, saying she needed to buy some food, and Cecil was her undercover “sugar daddy” and he was the way that she had extra money to buy groceries. Well, as she sobbed and talked I softened, and then in a state of shock, I reassured AnnaBelle that her secret was safe with me. BUT, Aunt Cellie continues, not until after I had given her a “piece of my mind.”

CORA HAIRSTON is retired from Logan General Hospital, as the radiology co-coordinator after 30 years of service. She has written numerous poems and 20 or more gospel songs. Her love is singing, playing the piano, going to church, and preaching life lessons to her grandchildren. Leading up to her retirement so that she would have something to occupy her mind outside of home, she was encouraged by her daughter Amanda, to return to school to become a "nail technician," which she did. This led her to be owner/operator of her own salon and eventually a "ladies boutique." Cora and her husband, Fred, are the proud parents of four children, seven grandchildren, (one deceased) and four great-grandchildren. They reside in Omar, West Virginia.


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