Jean Long, who is the longest active member of the Mountaineer Garden Club, was recruited in 1964 by Katorah Goff, her former fourth grade teacher. The dues at the times were $4 per year and the membership totaled 22.
Long has always loved flowers but at her childhood home, her father preferred a yard that took approximately an hour to mow. A neighbor offered her a flower and with much persuasion her father allowed her to plant it in the yard. She loved colors and was disappointed when the flower turned out to be white.
Long enjoyed learning to arrange flowers into beautiful accents for her home. Today her home is filled with blooming African violets of all shades. As president of the club, some of the projects that she supported were recycling and care of the Harry Harner Memorial Garden on Front (First) Street. A large truck picked up the collected plastic, glass and newspapers twice a year from St. John’s church. Long and husband, Ben, continue to recycle plastic; newspapers are given to the Tucker County Animal Shelter.
One state meeting that stands out in Long’s memory, was held at the Greenbrier Resort. The ladies stayed at a hotel in Lewisburg and traveled to the Greenbrier for the meeting. She was advised by several members “Don’t miss any of the bathrooms”, due to the unique décor of each.
At the time of Long’s presidency, a junior garden club was present in the elementary school for any interested child in fourth and fifth grades. Committee members working with the children were Dess Kidwell, Bert Price, and Lois Matlick among others.
Long has treasured each of the annual yearbooks that were produced by committee members of the garden club since her joining in 1964. She feels that not only do they invoke pleasurable memories of friends but are a history of the club, Parsons and the projects the Mountaineer Garden Club has completed for the beautification of Parsons.
The Mountaineer Garden Club will celebrate its 60th anniversary on September 6 from 4-6 p.m at Piccolo Paula’s. The community is invited to attend and partake of light refreshments and peruse the yearbooks on display.