It's probably a safe bet that your family dentist maintains a practice in an average stereotypical structure conducive to the 21st century. Generally speaking, their waiting rooms probably contain a few outdated magazines, a small screen television with no means of changing channels, or some lethargic waltz time CD playing typical elevator music. It's just a fact, most physician waiting rooms possess a ho-hum ambiance without too much pizzazz.
However, if your dentist maintains a waiting room in an early 19th century dwelling with a living history of documented paranormal experiences, that's a ghost of a different color. If the walls of the waiting room were saturated with a generous collection of ornamental artifacts from Huntington's past, that would eliminate the need for any TV. Add a sampling of medieval war relics, and who cares about outdated magazines?
While much has been written about the "ghostly occurrences" at the office location of Dr. William L. Grimes, DDS, little has been made public about his insatiable desire for memorabilia that dates Huntington's history. His waiting room is a miniature museum, a living time capsule that evokes visions of faded news clippings and vanishing structures.
Remember the famous three point kick of Willy Merick that won the game against Youngstown State, while 31,304 screaming fans watched in pandemonium? Take a guess where a part of that goal post hangs today.
How many times have you attended the old Orpheum Theater and wish those old ugly overhead hanging lights would turn off so the movie could start? Wouldn't it be a thrill to just get one more glimpse of a couple of those old faded lights? There's still time to do just that.
Did you know that Anderson Newcomb department store had a cafeteria for their employees? At least one of those serving dishes still exist today from that cafeteria.
So you think that every single original carousel horse from Camden Park's Carousel was removed and taken out of state to be auctioned off years ago? There are a few in town a lot closer than you think, one in particular.
There is a small section of Astroturf from Fairfield Stadium that contains the unmistakable cry of a hundred thousand voices: "We Are Marshall."
Along with a brick from Marshall's Old Main, there is a very heavy decorative exterior wall support that was taken from the rubble of Fairfield Stadium during an extended lunch hour.
"This item is a prime example of being at the correct place at the right time," said Grimes. "When I arrived home with my newly acquired relic, my son-in-law decided he had to have one like it. By the time we drove back, they had vanished."
Then there are those four corner spires, that once enjoyed a lofty view from the roof top of old Northcott Hall on Marshall's campus. As the spires were removed, one meandered through an unknown underground passage to the waiting room of Dr. Grimes.
If you are a 1947 graduate of Huntington East High School, and you were present the day of the class photo, then your picture has found a stately niche on this wall of history.
To make certain that this waiting room doesn't fall short of character, Dr. Grimes was present at the "We Are Marshall" auction of movie props. Remember the Fall City Beer cans being tossed around by the football team? Two of those cans now add a distinguishing touch to an already impressive collection.
Who could forget the old 6th street bridge? Patients of Dr. Grimes know that bridge was built by the Mt. Vernon Bridge Company. They know because of a steel placard that was once attached to that bridge is now attached to the wall in this waiting room. There is also a small section from the east end bridge that once crossed the Guyandotte River from U.S. 60.
A poster from the movie Sayonara that once occupied one of the glass cases in the Keith-Albee, an autographed picture of Soupy Sales, a souvenir ash tray from the days when band festivals lined the streets with spectators. A wide angle view of Huntington during the 1937 flood; a patch from the movie screen of Huntington's East outdoor drive-in theater; an O scale circus train from the basement train layout of Clinton Phillips on Charleston avenue; a porcelain street sign from Huntington's antique district; an old goalie stick from a defunct hockey team; and a European style medieval full body armor plate suit.
All these marvelous items, and a few more, continue to be given a place of prominence in this town's history. Dr. Grimes is a self proclaimed historian who continues the search for memories of Huntington's past. A past full of rich heritage. A past with events of unprecedented magnitude, proud people, events, tragedy, laughter and heart. Some of which hangs on a wall in a simple waiting room that is far from being ho-hum. Is it any wonder that a few ghosts wouldn't delight in taking up residence in such a historical haunt?
Clyde Beal is a freelance writer always looking for that next story of no particular subject. Write him with your idea at firstname.lastname@example.org.