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David Thompson my dad, Lomas Oplinger was from Wilkes Barre, Pa. He came south in the CCC's. He had worked Antracite (hard coal) in Pa and was an experienced miner. He met and married my mother on the Hensley Settlement. My mom was Shirley Hensley, dau of Wm Sherman and Nicey Hensley. My grandparents were the first settlers of the Hensley Settlement. They married in 1937 and dad went to work for Blue Diamond Coal Company in Bonnie Blue, Va. When the war started dad went back north to Mich and worked for Great Lakes Steel. He came back to Ky in 1943 and went to work for Curt Hoskins in Southern Mining Company mines at Insul, Ky. He was the "yo-yo boy " on the pan line, supply man. He died in Pineville hospital on May 28, 1952. We had to leave the camp in one year, this was a rule for widows by the coal company.
Coal Camp life was like no other, everybody knew everybody else, and their business too, but we all had things in common. As boys we played marbles most all day and if somebody could get hold of a roll of friction tape we would make us a ball. Find some old socks and begin to wind them together as tight as possible. After tightening them use your friction taps and get that ball as round and tight as possible. Baseball was our sport back then but the only ball we had was the one we made. Dad played third base and short stop for the Insul mines team. We played Balkan, Pruden Tenn, and also Harlan county teams. Those were the days, shooting matches around thanksgiving and Christmans. Uncle Junior, moms baby brother came in one year from Mich. He killed six chickens and one turkey before they made him quit shooting.
We had two school houses on the hill above the commissary and I went thru the third grade before we moved to Pathfork. First whipping I got at school I ran all the way home crying and screaming "she whipped me." Mom met me on the front porch with a limb in her hand, she did not ask me any questions about why the teacher whipped me. She took me by the hand and whipped me all the way back to the school. I graduated Black Star High in 1961 and I never made the mistake of running home to mom again.

Balkan Scouts
Febuary 19, 2015 start