Often a person comes into our memory from a long time ago - a time when we were children - and we recall events as if they were just yesterday. Born in Vienna, West Virginia, and growing up there, I have many, many memories of the neighborhood and walking to church services from where we lived on Hammit Avenue (now 37th Street). I have memories of the old Vienna school house and the new one we moved into across the street. I remember the church of Christ building on Pleasant Avenue, now the 36th Street congregation. Memories of that small building from my childhood is what I want to write about in this article.
I remember my mother, Blanche McGraw, telling of obeying the Lord one wintry night when I was just a baby. It was during a gospel meeting, and the weather was so cold the ice had to be broken on the creek for her baptism. I remember numerous gospel meetings I attended at that little building - two week meetings with preaching every night, preached by men whose names I can still remember, Jim Gallagher, Fred Dennis, Horace Taylor, Tom Butterfield, Denver Cooper, Ken Adams, and other names I have forgotten. Every time I read Romans 10: 15, I am reminded of the times when every pew would be filled because, night after night, people wanted to hear sound Bible teaching. Sometimes the kids would be asked to "come and sit up front on the floor" to make room for the adults. We didn't even think of misbehaving!
As I grew up and married, those things from childhood faded. One Sunday evening in Eustis, Florida, a gentleman going into the church building looked familiar. I said, "I think I know that man." Before we sat down, I approached him and, upon introducing myself, how astonished I was when he said he was Ken Adams. In an instant when I heard his voice, I was taken back to that little church building in Vienna to the times I had listened to his voice, remembered his family, and the time little Kenny wearing a red bow tie went into the aisle and his mom Norma had to go bring him back to the seat. My chance meeting with the Adams that evening certainly brought back memories of my childhood, and I was glad to again meet Norma and refresh her memory about just who I was. A few years later we relocated to the Eustis and Mount Dora area, and, placing our membership with the Orange Avenue church of Christ, we became a part of God's family that included Ken, Norma, and their family. During the years we lived in that area, we visited many times with Ken and Norma.
They always enjoyed talking of places and people back in West Virginia. It pleased Ken when I was able to remember his mother's little general store in Parkersburg. I had been in it many times. Whenever Larry and I had been in the Elkins region we would take back news of the folks at Goff Street. Both Ken and Norma were delighted to hear about the Daniels, and then they'd go into their own memories. We would soon find time was passing as we laughed with them over happenings from the times when Tom and Mary were so much a part of their lives in Elkins.
After leaving Florida and moving back to West Virginia, whenever Larry and I were back down south we'd be sure to stop and spend some time with Ken and Norma. By now they were in an assisted facility with their own apartment. It seemed so far in the back of the building. It was quite a walk for Ken to the dining room and front entrance, but he said, "It keeps me moving." It did, but we soon learned how frail they both were becoming.
They moved into a nursing home in Eustis. We kept up with news of them via the church bulletin and were sorry to learn of Norma's passing about two years ago. What a blessing it was to know and love this beautiful Christian woman. Her faith and love for Christ was seen by all who came in contact with her.
Last fall we received word that Ken, too, had died. We were sad, yes; but, when we thought of the life of Ken Adams, we knew what joy awaited him. He was a true soldier in the Lord's army! A bearer of the Good News! A faithful servant! A man among men! Again, I'll say he was all of the above, but, to me, Ken was a person who touched my life as a little girl and brings smiles as I remember the Ken that made an imprint upon the life of both my husband and me in his later years - a man who set a Christian example for us and a man we loved very much. -Route 2 Box 177, Belington, WV 26250.
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