Essays on Childhood: The 2010 Writers

Lisa Minney was the first intrepid soul to take up the challenge of writing about her childhood for the Essays on a West Virginia Childhood project.  Her courage as well as her writing encouraged others to take the plunge.  Lisa blogs about her life in Stumptown, West Virginia, at She is the publisher of Two-Lane Livin’ Magazine, available in 16 central counties of West Virginia in print, and online at  Her essay tells a simple story of a grandfather’s love, expressed in that unique way only grandparents can provide.  Her grandfather managed to protect and teach his grandaughter, all the while setting the stage for both her blossoming independence and her life-long relationship with him.  You may read her essay by clicking this link, “The Fishing Stool.”

John Warren and Elizabeth Gaucher first met as very young children when their families were in the same Presbyterian Church in Charleston, and they later found each other again in junior high and high school.  Gaucher says, “He was always incredibly intelligent, compassionate and insanely funny.  One of those people you just know in your heart you will always adore and respect, he took my breath away when he told me he wanted to write about growing up gay in West Virginia.”  John says the process of putting his experiences down in writing was not always easy but definitely valuable.  His essay helps others as well, both those who are homosexual as well as those who need to understand more about diversity and compassion.  You may read  his five-part essay series by clicking this link, “Growing Up Blind.”

Amy Hamric Weintraub is an intense and effective community leader.  She is a devoted wife, mother, and friend, as well as an accomplished professional with a long history of executive leadership in key community nonprofit organizations.  Her charming essay about growing up in a family with a long West Virginia heritage, while playing and learning among “children of hippie farmers and Filipino doctors,” may be viewed by clicking this link, “Hippies and Filipinos – A Spencer, West Virginia, Childhood in the 1970s.”

Anne Clinard Barnhill has been writ­ing or dream­ing of writ­ing for most of her life. For the past twenty years, she has pub­lished arti­cles, book and the­ater reviews, poetry, and short sto­ries. Her first book, AT HOME IN THE LAND OF OZ, recalls what it was like grow­ing up with an autis­tic sis­ter. Her work has won var­i­ous awards and grants. She holds an M.F.A. in Cre­ative Writ­ing from the Uni­ver­sity of North Car­olina at Wilm­ing­ton. Besides writ­ing, Anne also enjoys teach­ing, con­duct­ing writ­ing work­shops, and facil­i­tat­ing sem­i­nars to enhance cre­ativ­ity. She loves spend­ing time with her three grown sons and their fam­i­lies. For fun, she and her hus­band of thirty years, Frank, take long walks and play bridge. In rare moments, they dance.  You can find more about Anne on her website,  You may read her essay for the EOC project by clicking this link, “Winter Solstice by Anne Clinard Barnhill.”

Elizabeth Gaucher is a writer living with her husband and young daughter in West Virginia.  She is the creator and founder of Esse Diem bloG, and of the Essays on Childhood initiative.  She was born in Charleston and grew up there with an extended family of grandparents, aunts and uncles, and cousins.  Her mother’s father was the youngest of ten children living in the New River Gorge area, riding a rail car from Kaymoor down into the valley to gather wildflowers by the river.  Her father’s mother mowed the grass in high heels on Virginia Street in Charleston into her nineties, having been a young adult cutting more than few rugs in the Roaring Twenties.  Material for storytelling was never lacking.  You may read her essay about dancing at Jackson’s Mill by clicking this link, “STOMP! go the doors.”

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