BUCKHANNON — Anna Baxa, previously Anna Fallen, age 78, was born and raised in Buckhannon, the youngest of her eight siblings.
When she was just six months old, Anna’s mother passed away and her father left. She said he remarried to a woman who did not want kids, leaving all nine children in foster care. “Some [foster care homes] were good, and some of them beat you,” Baxa recalled. Baxa was adopted shortly after she turned 13, without her siblings, and moved to Cleveland Avenue.
Baxa reported that she did not have much time to play. She primarily worked in the garden and hemmed. Baxa attended school until the ninth grade, when her foster parents decided she did not need further education.
At 18 years old, her foster parents passed away and Baxa found work by cleaning houses for people, then worked at an HP store on Main Street for four years. “They called it the Happy People store,” Baxa said. She worked at a discount store for a while and also babysat for a professor at Wesleyan. Baxa continued work at Revco in Tennerton for 12 years, then worked at AMES for over 14 years.
Baxa said she married twice and her marriage with her first husband only lasted a year and a half. After some time had passed, Baxa remarried, which has lasted 45 years. They share a son.
Recalling how Buckhannon was back when she was younger, Baxa said she prefers it back then. “It was a good place, a safe place,” Baxa said. “You didn’t have drugs, and you didn’t have all that. Now I don’t feel safe walking up the street.”
Baxa also remembered going to dances. Before marrying, Baxa said she and her first husband went dancing at “the club” and attended the Strawberry Festival dance at the Armory. Baxa described how people square danced and slow danced all the time.
Baxa then recalled all of the floods Buckhannon used to have. “Buckhannon was nothing but floods until Walmart went in and built the wall,” Baxa said. “We had floods all the time.” Baxa recalled one clear memory of a flood in Buckhannon. “It was awful, it flooded all of Buckhannon,” she described. “It got up to the windows of my trailer.” Baxa remembered clearly that she did not want to leave her trailer, but her neighbor told her to get out. Her neighbor ended up carrying her out when Baxa refused. She stayed with a friend’s family, the Fiddlers, in a hotel for five days while the water cleared.
Baxa also remembered a picture she once had of her at four years old, standing on top of a door, while her adopted father drug it along as he walked through the water down the street.