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Rocket Boys | Columns | wvnews.com

Bet you didn’t know this! “October Sky” is an anagram of “Rocket Boys,” the same letters just moved around. This was discovered by Joe Johnston, the director of the movie “October Sky,” using an anagram program on his computer. “Rocket Boys” is one of my all-time favorite books by West Virginia native Homer Hickam. It’s Hickam’s first memoir in a series of four, initially published in 1998. Later editions were published under the title “October Sky” as a tie-in to the 1999 film adaptation.

In “Rocket Boys,” Homer “Sonny” Hickam Jr. lives in Coalwood, a small West Virginia coal-mining town. After seeing the Russian Satellite Sputnik, young Sonny decides to join the American team of rocket engineers called the Missile Agency when he graduates from school. Sonny’s older brother, Jim Hickam, excels at football and expects a college football scholarship. Sonny is terrible at sports and has no particular skill that would get him “out of Coalwood.” Sonny’s mother is afraid that he will have to work in the mines after high school. Sonny’s first attempt at rocketry (which occurred when he was 14) consisted of a flashlight tube and model airplane body as a casing, fueled by flash powder from old cherry bombs. It explodes violently, destroying his mother’s fence. After that, Sonny enlists the help of friends Quentin, Roy Lee, Sherman, Jimmy, and Billy to help build rockets while forming the BCMA (Big Creek Missile Agency). It’s an easy, against-all-odds read, the true story of a determined hometown boy who realized his dream.

In an interesting aside to the “Rocket Boys” story, Hickam served six years in the U.S. Army, honorably discharged with the rank of captain in 1970. He served in the Vietnam War in 1967 and 1968 as a first lieutenant and combat engineer with C Company, 704th Maintenance Battalion, 4th Infantry Division. He won the Bronze Star Medal, Army Commendation Medal, and Army Meritorious Unit Commendation ribbon. (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Homer_Hickam)

Marion County Humane Society

Come and adopt your new best friend this Saturday, October 9, at the no-kill shelter’s adoption day and craft/vendor event. Fairmont Knights of Columbus on Mary Lou Retton Drive is the place, and the time is 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Bring an item from the shelter’s wish list, and you will be eligible for a door prize. Here’s the wish list: Paper towels, cleaning supplies, laundry detergent, gloves, cat litter, cat toys, dog Kong toys, and peanut butter.

Harrison County Humane Society Run for the Paws 5K

The Harrison County Humane Society is sponsoring its annual 5K fundraiser this Saturday, October 9, from 8 a.m. to noon. Sign-ups are $25 and start at 8 a.m. The race begins at 10 a.m. at the Veterans Memorial Park Freedom Shelter. The event is a 5K (3.1 miles) run/walk. Several participation choices are offered, including:

$20 – participate and receive a shirt. Add on a dog for $10 more and receive a bandana.

$10 – participate (no shirt)

It’s a pup pawty at Harrison County’s Humane Society! Bring your dog to the Howl-O-Ween Wooftacular on October 31 from 12 noon to 3 p.m. The cost is $15 per person and one dog and $5 for additional dogs. Pay when you come, cash only, please. All dogs are welcomed; leashes are required. Planned activities are a pet parade, costume contest, ghost “poop” hunt, and photo booth. Food vendors will be on-site, and T-shirts are on sale. Need more info? Call (304) 592-1600.

A favorite Marion County event arrives this weekend, Oct. 8-10, at Prickett’s Fort. Come for a unique shopping experience in a historic environment. Artisans and craftsmen will demonstrate and feature their work in the Visitor Center and on the grounds. Tour the Fort with costumed interpreters throughout the weekend. Regular admission applies for tours of the historic Fort and Job Prickett House.

Lights, camera, action! Coming this weekend, October 8 (7:30 p.m.), October 9 (2 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.), and October 10 (2 p.m.), Clarksburg’s Robinson Grand Community Theatre presents “The Adams Family Musical,” featuring an original story. This theatrical production is rated PG-13 for adult humor and mild language, full of comedy and your beloved childhood characters. Order tickets online at https://tickets.therobinsongrand.com/orderticketsvenue.

The Mountaineer Food Bank Mobile Food Pantry is back at Palatine Park for free food distribution on October 21 from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m., while supplies last.

Mylan Park Holiday Craft Show

Mark your calendar for Mylan Park’s big, annual craft vendor show, coming on Friday and Saturday, Oct. 22 and 23, starting at 10 a.m. 500 Mylan Park Ln, Morgantown.

Help a Teen Out! The Connecting Link Inc. is collecting items for their Teen Angels program again this year. Deliver donations to the Link office, 205 Fairmont Avenue, or any Marion County school by Monday, November 29. You may find a list of needed items on the East Fairmont High School Facebook page.

Robinson Grand Christmas Concert

Tickets are flying out the door for Landau Eugene Murphy, Jr.’s Christmas concert at the Robinson Grand Performing Arts Center on Saturday, December 18. Landau, a native West Virginian who won “America’s Got Talent” in 2011, has been crooning his way into America’s heart ever since and is now coming “Home for the Holidays” on his annual tour. Landau has also partnered with the United Way of Harrison County to collect winter items for donation to the county’s most needy populations. The first 100 patrons who bring in winter items on the night of the show will receive a free holiday CD.

Read More: Rocket Boys | Columns | wvnews.com

2021-10-05 23:00:00

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