Moving Back To The Hills

I was born in Appalachia and lived here until I was about four.  We, like many moved to Columbus, Ohio.  I grew up in Columbus, but made many weekend trips down to Beauty, where my grandparents lived.  I always loved our visits, except for the winters.  My grandparents didnâ??t have indoor plumbing.  Water was gathered from a hand lowered bucket at the well.  The bathroom was an outhouse over the creek.  The winters here are beautiful, but for a kid raised in the city, the outhouse is not the preferred way to go.  Wood had to be gathered for the stoves which kept the house warm.  For me, coming down to the hills, was like going back in time.  Some summers, mom would bring me, my brother, and sister down, for the summer.  Summers were rough.  It meant working from day light to dark.  There was a garden to tend to.  Grandpa would take me back on the mountain, to help him cut trees down.  We started out using a two man cross cut saw, and an ax.  I was sure grandpa was going to kill me, when he taught me to use the saw.  He was a powerful man, and I was just a young punk kid.  For a man who didnâ??t have an education, he sure did teach me plenty.  One of the things I had always noticed on our visits was how friendly the people were.  The majority of people in Columbus are good people, but not very friendly.  They donâ??t wave at strangers, who are driving down the road.  They donâ??t take time out of their busy days to just talk to someone they just met at the store.  Although many people from this area had moved to Columbus, most stayed in the south end of the city.  I was raised on the east side, and in the north end of the city. 

            When I became a teen-ager, I was ashamed of my heritage.  I was surrounded by people who knew only the stereotype image of the area.  As I looked at various family members, and others who lived in the hills, I started to believe the stereotypes.  It took me many years to learn to embrace my heritage.  I moved to Beauty about ten years ago.  I embrace the fact I come from a heritage of people who may not have had much, but were strong and scratched out a living, when all the odds were against them.  I come from a place where people care for others, and wave to you as you drive down the road.  I come from the hills, and have moved back to them.  Many see me as an outsider, because I didnâ??t grow up here, but thatâ??s ok.  Those who know me know Iâ??m anything but an outsider.  I love looking out of my windows everyday, and seeing these hills.  I love the people as a whole, and want nothing less than the best for each and every one of them.

2 thoughts on “Moving Back To The Hills

  • June 3, 2009 at 9:15 am

    I really enjoyed reading this thoughtful post. I’m a native of the Southern Highlands of Appalachia-and I have an Aunt who moved to Columbus when she was a young adult-she and her family still live there today.

  • June 3, 2009 at 4:04 pm

    I enjoyed reading it as well. I think this story is especially important because it deals with embracing your heratige and coming to terms and accepting yourself and where you came from. This is very insiteful and inspiring. Thanks so much for sharing.

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