Thursday, November 10, 2016

Memories of a Marshall Classmate ... Part II

Editor's Note: The classic song mentioned in the blog entry below has a fascinating and somewhat eerie connection to the Marshall University plane crash that claimed the lives of 75 people on the night of November 14, 1970. This song came out the same year, about nine months prior to the crash. What's so ironic is that the lyrics paint a "real-life" picture of what many of us were thinking and feeling on the night when Marshall's plane went down in flames. Kathy Dial, the author of this blog entry, grew up in Huntington, West Virginia. Ms. Dial attended MU in 1970 and dated Kevin Gilmore, who was one of the 37 Marshall football players on board for that fatal flight.

    Hello Craig ..... In November Ever After when you wrote about the James Taylor song '"Fire and Rain," it also brought back so many memories. 
    My boyfriend Kevin Gilmore played football and was roomates with Ted Shoebridge (quarterback). Ted's girlfriend (Nikki Garnett) and I were given the task of cleaning out their dorm room and boxing up and shipping their possessions to their families. 
    "Fire and Rain" came on the radio and we stopped what we were doing and just stood there. From that day forward, that song has had an entirely different meaning for me than it did before the crash.  

I've seen fire and I've seen rain
I've seen sunny days that I thought would never end
I've seen lonely times when I could not find a friend
But I always thought that I'd see you again

    Kevin and I were going to go to his home in New Jersey for Thanksgiving that year so that I could meet his family. As it turned out, I met them under entirely different circumstances. 
    Kevin's family accepted me into their close-knit family for which I was so grateful and we have continued to stay in touch. I was thrilled to see Nate Ruffin (cornerback) at the fountain ceremony in 2000 and was able to talk with him for a few minutes and compare our memories. 
    I made a trip to Huntington and stopped by Spring Hill cemetery. Kevin and five of his teammates who could not be identified are buried at Spring Hill. As the minister said at their joint funeral (in 1970) -- the six guys buried there - played as a team and they are still a team. 
   Thank you again for writing this book. I think this crash affected and shaped the survivors in so many different ways. 
    We will never forget. Nor will we ever truly "get over it."

-Kathy Dial

Coming on Monday:
46th anniversary message:
A unique and everlasting bond

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