Having Fun While Changing the World

Participants in the SHC were wholly committed to the daily grind of conducting hundreds of medical examinations, organizing rural communities, and working to establish local clinics. This was serious business marked by long days of intense effort. But there was levity amidst the hard work, many moments of frivolity, laughter, and fun.

 

New River Boys

As illustration of the depth and strength of relationship between the communities and the students, witness the example of the New River Boys. The Boys were a distinguished bluegrass band in the early 1970s. They played in venues around the… Continued

SOCM’s and the SHC’s culture of ‘family fun’

Maureen O’Connell and Charles “Boomer” Winfrey reflect on the value of having fun, highlighting the Student Health Coalition (SHC) as an especially stimulating group of people to be around. Their commitment to collective recreation ultimately facilitated a stronger sense of… Continued

Mo & Boomer

On strip mining, community organization, and “[having] fun while trying to change the world.” Interview with Maureen O’Connell and Charles “Boomer” Winfrey, recorded at a May 2013 reunion of the Student Health Coalition (SHC) in Nashville, Tenn. Continued

“Liberté, Egalité, Frivolité”

[Story contributed by John Emmeus Davis, 2015] At one emotional pole of the Coalition experience was the gravity and ferocity of the organization’s founder, Bill Dow. He usually displayed little patience for peers whose personal commitment to the SHC’s Appalachian… Continued

“I don’t think I could have made up the memory of crawling through barbed wire with 40 pounds of squealing, snapping, struggling pig in my arms”

[Story contributed by Neil McBride] Ok, I’ll join with the two stories that suggest Bill’s conversion from radical mountain agitator to organic farmer was not as sudden and distinct as some might think. They also address the sense that when… Continued

“I remembered all of those weekends we spent camping.”

[Story contributed by Betsy Scott Metzger] I was hiking in the Smokies recently and it started to rain heavily. Some of the group started complaining, but I welcomed it. I remembered all of those weekends we spent camping. One night… Continued

“We lived with a coal burning stove and kept our provisions in gallon glass jugs against the mice.”

[Story contributed by Margaret Ecker, RN, MSN] Sometime around 1975, local friends in Lake City offered us newly minted community organizers this abandoned house for a dwelling. We lived communally, our numbers fluctuating with the season. We lived with a… Continued