(EDITOR'S NOTE: What follows are reflections submitted by readers who shared on request stories of something that had made 2013 a special year for them.)
GOLDIE BALY OF WEIRTON
"As I reflect back on the year 2013, yes, something special did occur in my life - actually several memorable things happened," wrote Goldie Baly of Weirton.
Linda Cline of Colliers became a first-time grandmother with the birth of Rudy Eugene Violet.
Helping unveil the new historical marker celebrating Cove School’s role in the Weirton community were during the summer, front from left, Hancock County Commissioner Jeff Davis; Carole Bernardino, principal at the school when it closed in 1991; former Hancock County commissioner and longtime school employee John Sorrenti; Hancock County Commissioner Mike Swartzmiller, who served as master of ceremonies; Goldie Baly, oldest Cove School alumna in attendance; Hancock County Commissioner Dan Greathouse, director of the Top of West Virginia Convention & Visitors Bureau; and Jim Piccirillo, who started his teaching career at the school; in rear, Dennis Jones, president of Weirton Area Museum & Cultural Center; and Arden Ford of Hancock County Savings Bank.
A special visit to the Crew House Museum in Richmond made for a special 2013 memory for Pam Henderson and her father, 92-year-old father, Harold W. Millhorn of Toronto, who is holding an item donated to the museum on his behalf.
"In January, Dennis Jones, CEO of the Weirton Area Museum and Cultural Center, phoned. He requested I come to the museum for an interview on the history of Holliday's Cove to be recorded on film. I have been a longtime resident, as my family settled on Elm Street, Holliday's Cove, in 1922.
"I wasn't feeling well in January after having been away for the holidays, and my daughter Melanie and I were detained at the Reagan Washington Airport for nine hours due to bad weather in Pittsburgh.
"I felt total fatigue.
"I told Dennis I was sorry, but I could not do the interview.
"A half-hour later, Dennis phoned again and said if I could not go to the museum, he and the photo technician, Rick Smith, would load up the lights and camera equipment and come to the house. He wanted me included in the video.
"I reconsidered and reported to the museum the following morning.
"The film is titled 'Rediscovering Holliday's Cove' and also is on DVD discs. This was recorded in order to preserve our history and culture for future generations.
"I am proud to have a small part in the film," reminisced Baly, who attended fifth and sixth grade at Cove School from 1931-33. The school was demolished in recent years."
Jones, "with the help of a number of wonderful sponsors and volunteers," arranged a ceremony at the Weirton Event Center in remembrance of Cove School on Aug. 10, 2013.
"The Cove School commemorative marker was installed by Rich Loeffler.
"Commissioner Mike Swartzmiller, master of ceremonies, announced that the honor of unveiling the marker during the dedication ceremony was to go to the eldest Cove School alumni member present. At that time I was 91 years old and was indeed the oldest alumna present.
"I was escorted to the marker by Commissioner Dan Greathouse and felt honored to have the privilege to unveil the beautiful remembrance plaque.
"A few minutes later, Jones buried a time capsule directly behind the marker. Among the items buried that included some Holliday's Cove data and Weirton history was a copy of my book, 'Goldie's Memoirs.'
"The capsule is to be opened 50 years from now during West Virginia's 200th birthday.
"The day's events were videotaped for posterity.
"Yes, I've had several unforgettable experiences during 2013."
Linda Cline of Colliers can look back at 2013 and agree the year was something quite extraordinary.
Cline became a first-time grandmother, "blessed with a beautiful grandson."
Born Oct. 10, Rudy Eugene Violet is the son of Eric and Kayla Cline Violet of Bellaire.
Cline, 54, is a single mother of three daughters, who also include Staci Breen and Molly Cline. A senior payroll analyst at Orrick in Wheeling for nearly 10 years, Cline said she has been a single mom since she was 33 and her daughters were just 6, 4, and 2 years old. "My husband, Douglas Eugene Cline, died at the age of 35 of a heart attack," she said.
"Yes, it was an exciting year," Cline said. "Kayla and Eric gave me a Valentine's Day card that was made for a grandma. I thought they had given me the Valentine's card for Kayla's grandma, Eleanor Cline, by mistake. That is how she told me she was pregnant," said Cline, who got to stay in the birthing room with Kayla.
"What an experience I never will forget," she said. "It was truly exciting to actually watch the birth of my grandson."
Being a grandma is a role that will never change, according to Cline.
"We are made grandmas to spoil our grandchildren," she said. "I can't wait to be able to do that, as if I haven't already started. I love to shop, and I was already buying things for him the week he was born. He was so little I had to buy him newborn sleepers," Cline said.
A special visit to the Crew House Museum in Richmond made for a special 2013 memory for Pam Henderson and her father, 92-year-old father, Harold W. Millhorn of Toronto.
In June, Henderson said she and her husband, Tom, took Millhorn to the museum operated by the Richmond Community Historical Society to see a familiar outdoor display - the bell from the old Mount Tabor one-room schoolhouse that was located on Mount Tabor Road, county Road 56, Toronto.
Millhorn would have rung the bell as a boy there more than 80 years ago and is likely the oldest surviving student to have attended there. In addition to ringing the school bell, Millhorn, who graduated from the school, built fires before class to warm the building. His favorite teacher there was Louella Moore, who would later become Mrs. Dwight Miller.
That information Henderson had passed on to Phil Judy, the society's president, and his wife, Sandy, the society's secretary. The Judys expressed "great interest" in Millhorn's story and accepted from Henderson a framed donation that showcases Millhorn's school picture and a present-day picture, his certificate of promotion to high school and a news item acknowledging Millhorn's 92nd birthday on April 25.
Millhorn's visit to the Crew House during the summer also was to see that framed memorabilia.
"My father is a very unassuming man," Henderson wrote. "When he saw his information on display there at the museum, he was very touched. It seemed to bring a tear to his eye, and I don't think he knew quite what to say," she said.
Henderson said her father and Sandy Judy struck up a conversation about people they both knew, people her father had worked for in the Richmond area. Millhorn worked for the Hills Dairy Farm.
"When he and my mother, Dorothy, got married in 1944 at the Osage Church, they lived in a house that was located on the Hills Dairy Farm where the first three of their five children were born - Robert W. "Bob," Richard and Barbara," Henderson said. "Their next daughter, Betty, was born at the David McKinley farm where my father's parents, Earl and Myrtle Millhorn, lived and worked, and I was their only child to be born in the hospital," Henderson said.
Before her parents were married, Henderson said her father and his parents and siblings lived and worked on the David McKinley farm and his daughter Martha McKinley's farm for about 20 years. "My grandfather Earl, besides being a tenant farmer for the McKinleys and running the farm, also had a small dairy business with Martha McKinley," she said, adding that Martha was a teacher at East Springfield and Jefferson Union High School until she retired.
"I have to say that my father had such an enjoyable day when he visited the Crew House Museum, and it lifted his spirits so much," Henderson said.
"During past Decembers, I have taken on a role as Mrs. Susie S. Claus. Through the years, there were many touching and unusual events that have happened in my glory sightings as Mrs. Claus. I would like to share one such story."
(A glory sighting is an area where you have seen God at work either in your life or in your surroundings.)
"One night I was coming back to Weirton from sharing the Christmas spirit with the Anderson Home outside of Follansbee. I had to make a stop to get gas at one of our local gas stations.
"It is not often one sees Mrs. Santa pumping gas.
"I realized a young woman was watching me, and she approached me. She choose to tell me her heartfelt story of losing her beloved mother through death a few months earlier, and this would be her first Christmas without her.
'When she was ready, we parted so she could pay for her gas. I could see her deep pain. What could I do as Mrs. Claus?
"My prayer was answered.
"As part of my guise, I wear an angel pin on my Mrs. Santa dress. I took it off and moved quickly to her car and put the angel on her windshield. From a distance, I watched for her to return to her car and hopefully find her angel. She did, and I knew she felt her mother watching over her, and she would find the peace of Christmas.
"Several months later I received a letter from this wonderful young woman. How she found me I'll never know. What she said in her letter about the first Christmas without her mother has certainly been a blessing for both of us.
"We shared a 'Glory sighting.'"
(Kiaski can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.)