• A visit to Union 2013. If you grew up in Union, West Virginia and you have not been able to return to Monroe County recently, chances are you will enjoy a little tour of Union and the area.

    View a Picture Tour of Union & Monroe County.


“Memories from 1961″ by Sonny Bell

There were many great memories of my days at UHS, but I particularly remember all the fund raisers we did…the rummage sales, cider-making, and all the others that everyone put so much enthusiasm and energy into …… there was always a sense of school spirit and true “team effort”…as well as the senior play.

I especially enjoyed our senior trip to New York City. It was quite an adventure, from the train/bus rides up and back, to the tours and free time we had to explore on our own. Even back then, I was a jazz enthusiast and was determined to get into one of the famous NYC jazz clubs and listen to some live jazz. That would have been a first for me as the only live music I had been exposed to was rock & roll, country, and the pop standards by Burr Shaver, who I believe, played both our junior and senior proms. I sent a letter to a club in lower Manhatten, in the Soho, called the Half Note. I had found out that a jazz quartet, The Toshiko-Mariano Quartet was playing. Tosnikio Akiyoshi was an acclaimed pianist/composer and her husband, Charlie Mariano was a Saxophonist/composer/bandleader. I had enlisted Bob Gilkerson and Frank McNeer to go down with me. After a long cab ride we went into the club and announced our reservations and they confirmed them. Then, they asked our age….Wha?  The club was owned and operated by the Canterino family and after a long discussion about our trip, our desire to be admitted and just listen to the music…not to drink alcohol, they did some conferencing to see if they could accommodate us….maybe in a dark corner. ..but, to no avail. The law was that you had to be 21 years of age to be admitted. So, our evening was shot down. Not wanting to spend another $20.00 on a cab ride back, we proceeded to walk three miles plus (55-60 blocks) back to the hotel. We got on 7th street and headed uptown…no problem. It was an interesting evening even without accomplishing our goal. I would hope Bob and Frank would have had as many chuckles about this adventure as I did.

As an interesting side story…I played with Burr Shaver’s band after my discharge from the Army in 1965 as a sub-drummer. I did about four gigs with him before I moved to Maryland. Played mostly at The Greenbrier Hotel for some private parties. Some fun times and was paid at union scale – $13 per hour…..lots of money back then.


          Sonny Bell
         Class of 1961