As a boy I grew to dislike heating with coal although my parents were both from West Virginia. They were raised on coal providing welfare for their families because both grandfathers worked in the coal mines. My family lived in a Wilmington, DE public housing project called Millside that heated the houses with coal.
Our unit was part of one floor row houses. There was a big coal stove in the living room to heat the three bedroom house. It failed miserably in the winter because we slept under blankets and coats to keep from freezing.
The shower was heated off the pipes in the kitchen stove. The kitchen stove was coal fired and it had to be made ready regardless of the season. This meant the kitchen was really hot in the summer, spring, and fall.
My disdain for coal peaked when I was a young chap and mama asked that I go get her a 50 lb bage on a real snowy afternoon. It had stop snowing so I left with my sleigh on the roughly 1½ mile walk. When I got the coal it took work to pull it on the roughly flat surface. By the time I reached home, I was feed-up making coal fires and emptying coal pans.
My parents bought a kerosene kitchen stove. We still had to make a fire in coal kitchen stove to take showers. We then moved to a new racially integrated public housing project replete with heat in every room and hot water. This new house was two story with a refrigerator meaning I no longer had to empty the ice-pan from the melting ice over night.
When I recount my early boy hood experience I recall having to deal constantly with coal waste product. I did miss the steam engines that passed behind us. But the electric and diesel engines were a paradigm shift in clean air. I must admit that the coal engine train was the premier choice in toys for Christmas.
It seemed to me at a very young age it was time to find a clean source of energy. Coal was dirty burning and polluting the atmosphere. My paternal grandfather died in WV, my maternal grandfather retired from the mind and died in Columbus, OH, and my father came to Wilmington, DE to work in the WWII industry. Thus, all my ties to the WV coal mining industry may be lost.
When I think about my wife Gwynelle's WV family Black Lung was suffered by her uncle and first cousin. It was terrible to see this disease slowly consume these men's lives. Their fate ignited a passion in me to support clean energy. Thus I feel we can bring clean industry into WV and not delude these people on how great it was yesterday to die a horrible death from Black Lung.