“You are so bad. Why did you dis the whole region? Don’t you want to sell books there?”
Not if I have to lie about what I experienced.
Redacted E Hall Hts, Sylva, NC is a single family home that contains 624 sq ft and was built in 1942. It contains 2 bedrooms and 1 bathroom. This home last sold for $27,000 in November 2000.
My old neighbor – she was a really ancient lady – would come out and yell at me to get off her land, when I tried to mow our property. Her eyesight was bad and she was convinced I was encroaching. She once told me if I didn’t mind myself she would get her son to come down with his gun to show me where the property lines are. Her middle-aged son, who lived above us on the hill, kept hound dogs. The dogs were trained to hunt bear. He trained them by keeping a bear cub in a cage. The cub would cry every night. It was an awful sound. The dogs would howl and bay for hours. Sometimes he would shoot a gun to freak the bear out and get the dogs used to the sound.
The next season, he would get a new bear cub. I don’t even want to know what happened to the old ones. He probably would put them out of their misery. Three years. Nobody did anything about it. I tried to report it and was told to mind my own business. Hunting is a way of life for a lot of people up there. Some will quit their jobs so they can go hunting every season and then come back and get rehired. They would take their kids out of school to go hunting.
This is Appalachia. Sure, they do make some beautiful quilts up there, the country is pretty, and tubing down Rough Butt creek is fun. But that right there, that bear cub, that’s the Appalachia I know. The type of Appalachia where if you make the wrong turn and drive too far up a mountain, you’ll get a warning shot.
Your Appalachia might be different. I would imagine if you’re not dirt poor, it might have been a lovely place. Perhaps your memories are happy and filled with light and family moments. Please feel free to share them in the comments. It would be nice to see the region in a different light.
I’m not going to argue with you about the validity of your experiences, because that’s your life and your experience. You lived through it. But do accept that I lived through mine.