I recently had the privilege of visiting West Virginia and the fair cities of Charleston and Morgantown. My purpose was two-fold. One was to see the cemetery/tombstone of a distant relative who lived and died in West Virginia back in the 1700s (and I did). The other was to visit the hometown and stomping grounds of one of my favorite actors of all-time -- Don Knotts.
The folks of West Virginia and Morgantown could not have been friendlier. I got to meet Cookie, down at the Morgantown Convention and Visitors Bureau. We hit it off, had a few laughs, and she even gave me a couple of small books (one on Don and the other about Morgantown history) and a T-shirt from "Don Knotts Day." She put me in touch with John W. Pyles, who was a personal friend of Don's. What a thrill that was!
We got to visit maybe a half hour and exchange anecdotes and stories about Don, reminiscing about the fun (and funny) times he brought into our world. John told me of the campaign to raise funds for the Don Knotts statue and memorial gardens to follow.
I hope this comes to fruition for his town and state. Although things (and especially the people) were nice enough, I got the impression the citizens there don't quite realize what a treasure/legacy known the world-over they have in Don Knotts. There will never be another one like him!
I came from Texas to see his hometown and to visualize his growing-up times and places. There are countless others across our country who would do the same.
I wish there were more people in West Virginia and Morgantown to help John in his efforts to commemorate Don's rightful place in the history of West Virginia folklore and entertainment industry. I did take in the star in the sidewalk near his hometown theater and the small exhibit at the museum downtown, but still I hope the citizens of West Virginia will step up soon and help John Pyles in his efforts to finish this worthwhile project.
I gladly made my contribution to the Don Knotts Legacy Fund (344 High St., Morgantown, WV 26505). I hope to come visit again before too long and see his completed statue smiling right back at me!
Glen Rose, Texas