Elementary school student stumbles on Facebook rock phenomenon

Matthew Sokol
Mineral Daily News-Tribune
Keyser resident Jase Poland poses with his purple rock at Brooks Park in Keyser, West Virginia, June 3.

KEYSER -Happy times are few and far between over the last year due to the COVID-19 pandemic. However, a few hours of positive vibes overtook Brooks Park in Keyser last Thursday.  

Jase Poland, 5 years old, was with his grandmother Susan Schlamowiz on a beautiful day in the park.  

While walking near the sliding board, a miniature purple object caught young Jase's eye.  Little did Jase know what he was stumbling upon.  

The purple rock found in Brooks Park in Keyser, West Virginia, June 3.

"I decided I was going to take him (grandson) and let him ride his bike around the track when we were finished we went on the playground," said Schlamowitz."I walked over to the pavilion to lay my things down and while I was doing that, he ran over to the sliding board. Next thing I know, I heard him laugh and say, 'Look grandma!'"

Poland found a round circular object turned out to be a purple rock. The rock was a lighter shade of purple on the outside and dark as it hits the center. 

Poland was overwhelmed with joy from his newly discovered mystery.  

"I started explaining to him what it was and I got on the Facebook group," said Schlamowitz. "The group had pictures of how they paint the rocks and I showed him pictures of the other people that found them. He was very excited over this." 

 The purple rock meant a lot to the Keyser native.  

"After we had looked through the pictures and talked about the rock, we hung out there at the pavilion," said Schlamowitz. "He took the rock back over to the slide and asked me to take pictures of him going down the slide with it. He even let the rocker down the slide." 

History of WV Gypsy Rocks 

WV Gypsy Rocks was set up in 2018 by Julie McKenzie Bittinger for one of the page moderators Danielle Kaiser.  

When Danielle Kaiser's sister passed away at 48-years-old on December 16,  her sister-in-law painted 48 rocks. The number 48 was painted on all of them as a sign of honoring Kaiser's sister Christa.

According to the group's Facebook page, the group began with one woman in West Virginia who loved to paint rocks and has grown into an obsession.  

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Kaiser since 2018 worked on the page alongside her late sister Christa Griffith who passed away in December.  

"My sister was as moderator in the group," said Kaiser. "Julie had helped create the page for me back in 2018." 

Keyser resident  Pj Varas finds rocks  on Barton Park Dr, near the employee parking entrance of American Woodmark, June 4.

When Kaiser's sister passed away at 48-years-old on Dec. 16,   her sister-in-law painted 48 rocks. The number 48 was painted on all of them.  

Serving a greater purpose

The residents of Keyser are taking the streets everyday finding new rocks. Across the town they find them and then re-hide them after taking a picture.  

The group currently sits at 2,900 members on Facebook. 

Kindness and positivity is radiating from the city in people's lives.  

Kerri Haza, of Keyser, shares a photo of a rock in the WV Gypsy Facebook page, June 3.

There's people out there that that needs the support and this is a way (to help)," said Kaiser. "I do the rocks for Halloween and for each holiday. Everybody's got to get approved in the group." 

A rock found by Deborah Kesner in Keyser, West Virginia, June 3.

For more information on WV Gypsy Rocks Facebook group, you can follow them at https://www.facebook.com/groups/699972523858386

  — Matthew Sokol (he/him) is a journalist with Mineral Daily News Tribune. Story ideas? I want to hear them. Please email me at msokol@gannett.com. Follow me on Twitter @MatthewSokol95