Forty years ago today, Stubby published this column in the Bluefield Daily Telegraph. Maybe the copy editor was off that day? Nonetheless, a favorite for the family…
Christmastime is a great reminder that family is what’s important in life. We’re feeling that more than ever with The Dad‘s passing this year.
So remember: Hug ’em all tight! And cheers to “booze and whoopee” for 2014!
The Dad once told me about a cold day in April when he was leaving Bluefield. It was 1981 – the day after his father Stubby’s funeral. He pulled the car into a gas station to fill up before driving his family back 400 miles back to Cincinnati, and he came face-to-face with his pop. Stubby’s photo glanced up at him from the trash can. It was his obituary on the front page of the Bluefield Daily Telegraph.
He said grief came over him in that moment. It brought it home that Stubby was literally and figuratively yesterday’s news. A family lost its patriarch. A town lost a significant champion. But sons lost their father. A wife lost her partner. Co-workers lost a friend.
Unfortunately, the grief is back. We recently lost The Dad. Like many deaths, it was a long time coming but too sudden, too soon. The Dad loved to tell stories about the sports scene he grew up in. He loved reminiscing about the neighborhood baseball games in which he played while living on Pen Mar. He was devoted to the 1959 Bluefield Beavers Football State Champs until the very end. He put West Virginia Mountaineers stickers on anything that wouldn’t move.
Even though we don’t have The Dad anymore doesn’t mean his stories are done being told, or our stories here are over. Even though the newsprint has long been recycled, the memories are old and dusty, and those we have loved may have gone on, we still have their stories to tell.
And Dad, I’ll miss you.
So we’re back after our summer break and as promised, we got some sports memories on tap.
Here is a photos from what I believe is the 1922 Morris Harvey College (later renamed the University of Charleston) football team from Barboursville, West Virginia. Stubby was not a player but was a coach or manager. The Dad points out that the ole Stub Man had colored his outfit in black ink because he was embarrassed by his duds.
That sounded like a challenge. So I dug around and found an undoctored version of the same photo.
I have some other documentation to go through to match up who is who in this team photo. Stay tuned!
It’s probably a little obvious I love history, but The Dad asks why I’m so interested in genealogy. He is a major history buff, but just doesn’t get the family tree stuff. (In full nerd disclosure, I, in fact, I attended the National Genealogical Society’s Family History Conference. I can’t be blamed. It came to me. How could I resist?). But I can say I love family history–it is a personal way the boring details of history can come alive. I rub my hands in anticipation of the West Virginia index of the 1940 Census. Oh, happy day!
Since we lost The Dad words ago, let’s move on. As we’ve mentioned, Stubby went by many names, including V.L. Currence. That “L” has quite the history. Lloyd is a family name from Wales and the first Lloyd in Stubby’s family came to America in 1683 when his 6th great-grandfather Thomas Lloyd moved to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, after becoming a Quaker. Thomas Lloyd died in 1693, and the Lloyd family moved around Virginia and West Virginia.
“Thomas Lloyd (1640-1694) was a Welsh-born Quaker and physician. In 1683, he moved with his family to provincial Pennsylvania along with William Penn. He swiftly entered politics, representing Philadelphia County in the provincial council in 1684. He went on to serve as Lieutenant Governor of Pennsylvania from 1690 to 1693.” (Source: Sethkaller.com)
See more about Thomas Lloyd’s Wikipedia page. And more sports next week. I promised The Dad.
Since we’re in the dead heat of July, let’s continue with the boys of summer. In the 1940s, Stubby was a scout for the Boston Braves, and in 1948, he attended the World Series where the Cleveland Indians ultimately beat the Braves in the 6-game series. The Braves franchise moved to Milwaukee in 1953 and then to Atlanta in 1966.
Thanks to Larry: “Currence was a scout for the Braves when they were still in Boston and a keen judge of talent. He referred to the assignment as being a “bird dog” for the Braves in the decade before they moved to Milwaukee.”
Photo details: Holy publicity shot, batman! As a practitioner of the public relations arts, I can spot a staged photo at 10 paces. But I like this one. These guys are committed. Kudos on the acting job, fellas. My fav is the flag. It’s laminated to give it that perfect summer breeze stiffness. I’m not sure who else is in this photo. If you do, let me know in the comments.
P.S. I’m excited to be heading to the Reds vs. Diamondbacks game tonight. The Dad says baseball was Stubby’s favorite sport, as it is mine. I’d like to think if Grandpa Stubby was around, we knock back a few cold ones and he’d regale me with tales of the Bambino and the good ole days.
“Uh, who’s that?”
I’m sure you know Slammin’ Sammy, because you know everything. He did some things and became the head pro at Greenbrier in 1944. I’m not sure exactly when and where (probably Greenbrier) this photo was taken, but Stubby is younger because he still has color to his hair.
Check out some more Currence Family Memories of Sam Snead. And if you know who the gentleman is in the middle, please let me know if the comments.
The Dad says this was taken when he was in college, circa 1964. It’s summertime because Stubby is in his two-tone summer shoes. I love how the paper is tucked under his arm. This picture was taken in front of their house in Bluefield, W.Va.
I wanted to post this photo as the first entry as a reminder that this journey is all about family. I’ll admit upfront I really don’t know much about sports, which I’m sure Stubby is disappointed about from heaven. But as a fellow writer, I understand how important words really are, and how they can change the world. And even I know sports are about the people, their stories and triumphs.
For this blog, I’m hoping to share some photos and memories of my grandpa but also learn more about my family. So let’s get this Stubby Currence Project started!
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