By: Paige Cline
There seemed not to be a lot going on in Pineville and Wyoming county sometimes back in the forties. Children were interested in the things that kids are attracted to. There was, of course, the war. Everyone’s life was affected by it and playing soldier was as much a part of a kid’s life as playing cowboy.
But other things were going on around us that went almost unnoticed. Important, interesting things.
There was a doctor who had an office and living quarters down the street. We knew that he was a a good doctor because our parents told us that he was. We knew that he was married to a local woman who had worked for him earlier. We knew that he had a beautiful olive skinned daughter who was well-liked but did not play with other kids that often.
Dr. Khorozian was (we learned later) of Armenian descent. He did not speak English without an accent. But we all knew him as a nice person who appeared to be always busy at something.
What we did not know until we were much older was that at a convention of the American Medical Association in Chicago, Dr. Khorozian was recognized for discovering a type of body cell. In plain language, the doctor explained that the cell served as a sort of “servant” to other cells. It carried healing agents such as sulfa drugs to the other cells.
Over 7,000 doctors in attendance paid honor to a physician from a” village of less than 800 population”.
When talking to my parents and some other citizens who were around at the time, I learned that everyone was very proud that our little town was on the map for a brief period.
But, Dr. Khorozian returned to his office and lab to resume his work and quietly treat the patients in his home town.
There was a man that most people in Wyoming County came to know because of his involvement in any patriotic activity to aid the war effort. He would dress up in an Uncle Sam outfit and walk on tall stilts in parades or to help sell War Bonds.
Well, for months we heard through newspapers and other means that Fred
(I don’t remember his last name) would be buried alive and would stay there until the county met its quota for the sale of bonds.
The “grave” as it turned out, was not an uncomfortable affair as coffins go, but still, it was a wooden box that I would estimate to be about 4x4x8. After it was placed in the ground and covered with dirt, there was a round tin vent that extended a couple of feet above the ground and was to provide fresh air. It was big enough that I had less concern about Fred’s breathing than I did for the danger of drowning if it
So, “Freddie, the Living Deadie” was interred, vowing to remain underground until the goal was reached.
Well, as you might guess, some of us were so inquisitive as to stay long after the crowds had gone home for the night. Questions began to creep into our minds. Stuff like: what about going to the bathroom? What will he eat? What if it rains?
Later on, some questions were answered. A couple of Fred’s pals were still there when it got pretty late and lowered him some liquid sustenance which he accepted with enthusiasm and ingested it the same way. Shortly, the recently-buried was practically embalmed.
What happened next was witnessed by very few, so unless someone else
steps forth, you are just going to have to take my word for it. Freddie, with the aid of his recently acquired buddies, managed to squeeze up through the vent and, after some effort, was on the ground outside his coffin.
After a few sociable nips with his associates and a couple of Chesterfields, our hero again enlisted the aid of his friends and lowered himself back into his new “home”.
I don’t think that Fred stayed buried until the quota was reached, but Wyoming County did reach its goals. They always did.