Bath Senior Center’s Sharing- Ms. Joan Williams

In one of my visits to the Senior Center to collect Bath County stories, I spoke with Joan Williams, of Hot Springs. As I usually do, I asked about how this place became home, and her earliest memories here. She remembered a day coming into Hot Springs from the south with her father.

“He was a supply minister. And he would go to churches and be there until they got one that was permanent.   We left home early, and it was pouring down the rain, and we came over Covington Mountain, and it was in October. When we came down near the falls and the sun was rising. Aaah, It was the most beautiful sight I had ever seen. It was beautiful. The trees were in fall foliage, and I told my Daddy, I said, Daddy, I want to live here.”

Ms. Williams’ father preached at the John Wesley Chapel that is now the Senior Center. In 1975 her wish from that day came true; she’s lived here ever since.

“And I brought up my children here, and it’s a great place to raise children. And they grew up here, and when they got grown, they left, of course.”

Local football fans know Joan Williams as the mother of Chris, Renya and Kevin Williams, star Bath County high school football players from some years back. Her daughters Sarah and Yetta are also BCHS graduates. She complimented Bath County Parks and Recreation program for providing her and Mr. Reginald Williams’s children experience with all different sports.

“The little boys and, now the little girls can sometimes play football, and it’s year round, and it’s so good for little children.

To me children needed encouragement. Even if they made a mistake and didn’t hit that ball, they still needed to be encouraged. Children need to be encouraged all the time. They don’t need to be put down. They need to be built up. But don’t build them up too much. I mean you have to figure out just how much.”

Joan continued to share some of her wisdom gleaned from years of parenting, and knowing children throughout the whole community.

“I worked in the school system in food service. I didn’t go to work until my baby was in school. And when I went to the Elementary School, there was this one little girl I admired so. She was young, but she knew herself. And I could look at her, and I admired everything about her, because I said, she’s going to make it. Some one could have criticized her or whatever, but she knew where she was going, and you know that’s a great gift, a great gift. But I loved that little girl. You get to watch all the children grow, and it’s good if you can be a positive part of their growing.”

It became clear Ms. Williams’ faith is a big part of how she keeps such a positive approach to life, and enriches lives around her.

“ I can’t help it, but I’m going to talk about my god, and I’m going to talk about him all the time because he makes me feel rich, although I’m not, you know from world’s point of view. But he is so good, so kind, and you think about what he does with us every day. I mean you woke up this morning. And I love it when it rains all night, and you get the sun the next morning. Only God can do that.”

If you are a Senior citizen, or know some one who might like to share some Bath County stories and impressions from a generation ago, please contact Allegheny Mountain Radio.


Story By

Bonnie Ralston

Bonnie Ralston is the Assistant Station Coordinator at WVLS and a Highland County news reporter. She began volunteering at Allegheny Mountain Radio in the fall of 2005. In 2006 she became an AMR employee and worked in Bath County for eight years as the WCHG Station Coordinator and then as the news reporter there. She began working in radio while in college and has stayed connected to radio, in one way or another, for more than thirty years. She grew up in Staunton, Virginia, while spending a lot of time on her family’s farm in Deerfield, Virginia. She enjoys spending time outside, watching old TV shows and movies and tending to her chickens.

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