I Come From Good Claar And Walter Stock
One of the big events of the year was the Claar and Walter reunion. Since my grandfather Bowser was related to both the Claar’s and Walter’s, we usually packed a picnic lunch and ate at the grove. They sold a chicken supper, but we were unable to pay the price, so we packed our own. We always had four families together when we went to the reunion: my Bowser grandparents and the families of their three children, Laura, Essie and my mother. So we had a good variety of foods. Then we would visit with our other relatives and listen to the country music. The organizers of the reunion had some of today’s stars performing. I can only think of three, Grandpa Jones, Lulubelle and Scotty. Then there were the Sunshine Boys, who later became The Oak Ridge Boys. In later years, Doc Williams and Chickie had several shows in the "grove" each year. The park was called Musselmans Grove.
The crowds were usually large at the Claar and Walter Reunion, and it took a while to visit all the relatives and friends, so we were always getting home late. The next day I would play "reunion" all day with an imaginary friend. Did I mention that I had such a friend? I have forgotten his name, but one time my uncle Irvin caught me talking to him, and I was embarrassed. Just what was a child five years old to do when he had no brothers or sisters or neighbor children to play with?
Many "tall-tale" stories were told concerning the Claar-Walter reunion. One was that at midnight people exchanged babies, since there were so many new babies and the mothers were anxious to show them off. Of course, that was always told to some of the children, with the addition that "We got you at the Claar reunion." It was always good for a joke when the children didn’t behave. As a child, you always feared you would get traded off the next year to some other family. People remembered and told stories about Dutch Benton, who sold ice cream. His spiel went something like this "Walk and talk and eat ice cream." The joke was that his real product was bootleg whiskey. He carried that in small pint canning jars in a suitcase. There was always the country music and lots of visiting. After we were married, Dollie and I took our family there for many years. Our boys and our girl spent several happy days there. It is still observed every year and many, in fact most, refer to it as the "Bullscreek Fair."
The name "Bullscreek Fair" brings up another set of memories. There are many and varied jokes about people that lived to the west of Claysburg along Bulls Creek. The jokes primarily dwelt on the poorness of the families who lived in that area. Some of the people I worked with came from that area. Until a few years ago, they were a little group all by themselves; they were somewhat clannish because they were all interrelated. During World War II, the air force had a radar station there on Blue Knob, just at the upper end of the Bulls Creek Valley. When the air force moved out, some people bought the buildings and the surrounding area and built a ski resort there. There have been several owners of the ski resort over the past twenty or thirty years. Several chalets have been built there, and the resort has recently been made it into a year-round recreational area. Most of the people taking advantage of the facilities come from the Washington DC and the Maryland areas. Winter is their big season.
There was also the fourth of July parade and fireworks at Claysburg. We always tried to get the berries picked early so that we could go to see the parade and fireworks. Of course there were the stands selling ice cream and sandwiches.