BUCKHANNON — Ronald Casto, age 73, is a Buckhannon resident born in 1946.
Casto enjoyed talking about growing up in Buckhannon. He remembers sneaking around and climbing trees, eating fruits off of them as a kid. He also recalled getting yelled at by his mother for sneaking into the garden with salt and eating the tomatoes.
Casto also talked about when he was a teenager here. He mentioned spots where the teens used to hang out, such as Stardust, an old drive-in restaurant where the waitresses wore roller skates and would bring food on trays, and the Tap Room, a beer joint that had, in his opinion, the best hot dogs. Casto also talked about going to the Colonial to go dancing and how he loved to listen to country music from live bands. He described it much like a scene from the movie Footloose. His other favorite activities included going to the movie theaters, shooting pool at the Moose, bowling at the Weston bowling alley, and getting into trouble.
Casto said he worked at any place he could find a job. He remembers picking strawberries at the big strawberry field where the Kroger strip mall is today. For five cents, he picked a quart full of strawberries at 12 years old. He held many other jobs during his lifetime, including hard work in a hay field, driving the garbage truck, and cutting pine trees for the Christmas season, as well as working at the old Weston State Hospital, Feola’s Flowers, and Cook’s Lumber Company – now known as West Virginia Split Rail.
Casto also mentioned how different life in Buckhannon is now. “It’s another life. Groceries were expensive, but not like they are today. We used to grow our own food and kill our own meat, such as coons, hogs, and deer. We raised a horse and a dairy cow,” Casto said. “Gas prices keep going up too.”
According to Casto, another difference about Buckhannon back then was that people would bring their corn to the Hour Mill to grind into corn meal right by the river. Casto also recalled “Miller Town,” the Adrian mining community where his father walked 6-7 miles to work every morning when Casto was a kid.