Written on: April 22nd, 2009 in Learning Journeys
Kathy here…Pikeville, Kentucky is my ancestral home. For my husband, Jim, Pocahontas, Virginia is "the homeplace." As natives of Maryland, imagine our surprise to discover that these family centers lie just "over the mountain" from one another, a mere 120 miles apart. Both rest in the lush green world of the Appalachian Mountain chain. The chain is one of the oldest on earth with an estimated age of over a billion years. And, while the Appalachians technically run from Quebec to Alabama, it is that pocket of civilization defined by southeastern West Virginia, western Virginia, eastern Kentucky, northeastern Tennessee and northwestern North Carolina that defines these mountains for me and my husband.
There, Appalachia is a lifestyle, a culture, a heritage.
Why this topic at this time? Who knows what triggers spark our interests? It does seem that each Spring I begin a renewed sprint-learning cycle with the subject. Perhaps because when I was a youngster, we regularly "went south" over Easter break. Regardless, every single time I walk this path, my learning expands. This year, my path has even been across media. Talk about totally immersing oneself…wow! Here is a snapshot of this particular trip among the "mountain people."
Book: Appalachians: America's First & Last Frontier by Mari-Lynn Evans
Age Before Beauty by Virginia Smith
CD: Songs from the Mountain with John Herrmann, Dirk Powell & Tim O'Brien
DVD: History Channel: Hillbilly – The Real Story and Songcatcher
What subjects draw you in again and again? How has this particular learning path evolved for you? Have you crossed medias in your search?
By the way, the "quoted" phrases above are for your instructional benefit. They are the words of "my people." And, last, my newest factoid: Pocahontas, Virginia was the first ever coal boom town!