I was born and raised in Brooklyn, N. Y. I can still remember sights and sounds and smells that have long faded into history. Somehow those experiences remain very special to me, but for better or worse society has moved on.
Perhaps this is true of every generation as they look back over the decades of their lives. Life always seemed simpler. The snowfalls seemed higher. One black and white television. The telephone line was a “party” line that required that you hung up the receiver if there were unknown voices at the other end. My friend’s father bought a ’58 Chevy that had air conditioning! Pizza was 15 cents a slice. High test gasoline was 28 cents a gallon in 1970. And so on and so on.
“Getting by with nothing and making do with less.” – Hillbilly Blood
Geography can serve to connect people or to keep them separated. The great civilizations developed along river valleys, and great trading nations took advantage of the seas.
Those peoples who did not have access to waterways developed their societies at a different pace. Mountain ranges and deserts tend to isolate peoples. The cultures of such people tend to become unique as compared to others who can make contact more easily.
This brings us to Appalachia. Appalachia extends from lower New York State to the deep South along the Appalachian Mountain range. Because of the overall isolation of the region people in Appalachia became self reliant and trusted in each other. Outsiders are viewed with initial suspicion.
“I live back in the woods, you see
A woman and the kids, and the dogs and me
I got a shotgun rifle and a 4-wheel drive
And a country boy can survive
Country folks can survive”
“A Country Boy Can Survive” – Hank Williams Jr.
“This the last cowboy song:
The end of a hundred year waltz.
The voices sound sad as they’re singin’ along.
Another piece of America’s lost.” – The Highwaymen