Hello! Who are you, Kentucky? forum: Kentucky Memories

 
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ImageSharon
Feb 17, 2010 2:23 AM CST
Name: Sharon
Kentucky
This thread is for sharing memories.
Where did you grow up in Kentucky and what do you remember? My memories are of the beautiful mountains I roamed as a child. I could tell you story after story about following my great Aunt Bett all over the mountains in search of the plants she used in medicinal ways. I could tell you about the asphidity bag she hung around my neck to protect me from mountain monsters and poison ivy and other harmful creatures.

I could tell you all this, but not today...maybe in time.

For now, I'd like to hear about your memories.
Please post them here.
Lilyhosta
Feb 20, 2010 1:13 AM CST
Name: Pauletta
Flemingsburg Ky.
I love your stories about Aunt Bett...

Pauletta
ImageSharon
Feb 20, 2010 2:07 AM CST
Name: Sharon
Kentucky
Pauletta...there you are!! I was hoping you'd find us.
I'm glad you're here, and soon I'll tell you more stories about Aunt Bett, but there are also new ones coming up on DG throughout the summer.

Thanks for finding me!
Imagebluegrassmom
Mar 26, 2010 9:27 PM CST
Name: Teresa
southcentral KY
Sharon, are you published?
Teresa in KY
ImageSharon
Mar 26, 2010 9:49 PM CST
Name: Sharon
Kentucky
Published?? All my Aunt Bett articles have been published on DG, but I'm in the process of compiling them into a book, and the book is not ready yet. Soon, though.

Is that what you meant?
ImageCajuninKy
Mar 27, 2010 12:26 PM CST
Name: Cheryl
Eastern Ky
Truth should be everpresent.
I didn't grow up in Ky but I'd love to share a few of my growing up memories if it's okay. LMK
Please join me at my Websites:
At Home Away from Home ~ Cajun's Corner

ImageSharon
Mar 27, 2010 12:56 PM CST
Name: Sharon
Kentucky
Cheryl...please do share your memories here. It doesn't matter where you are from, you're in KY now.

I have some fond memories of Louisiana too....And of my step-mother in law who was Cajun. She taught me how to make gumbo!!!!

So yes....start a new thread called Cajun Memories if you'd like. You can write as much and as often as you'd like. I'd love that, and so would others.

Or do you want me to start the thread for you??
ImageCajuninKy
Mar 29, 2010 2:35 PM CST
Name: Cheryl
Eastern Ky
Truth should be everpresent.
If you could start it it would be a big help for me. Thanks!
Please join me at my Websites:
At Home Away from Home ~ Cajun's Corner

ImageSharon
Mar 29, 2010 8:32 PM CST
Name: Sharon
Kentucky
Here you are, Cheryl....just for you:

http://cubits.org/kentucky/thread/view/16551/

Sorry it took awhile, I just now returned home.
I am looking forward to your stories.
Image2dCousinDave
Apr 5, 2010 12:23 AM CST
Name: Dave Kinneer
Fredericksburg, Virginia
I grew up in Letcher County, in a little town named Blackey. It was a booming coal town in the '20's but was hit hard by the depression and never really recovered. We moved there in 1947. Before Blackey we lived in Martin, in Floyd County and before that Louisa, in Lawrence County. Blackey is located on the North fork of the Kentucky River and many of the buildings in town backed up to the river bank. Railroad tracks ran through the middle of town and the L&N ran long coal trains, day and night. Empty and noisy going up and long and loaded coming back. We had a coal tipple right in front of our house and coal dust hung in the air day and night. There was no such thing as a white shirt or white sheet. You could get them clean but you could not get them white.

My mother washed on Saturdays. That meant that after school on Fridays I, and most of the other boys my age had to carry water from the river, across the tracks and up the path to our house. There were three wash tubs to fill so I made many trips. Then I had to gather kindling. The tubs were set up on bricks or flat rocks in the yard (there was no grass) and on Saturday morning I had to build a fire under two of the tubs. How well I remember my mother standing over those steaming tubs with her stick, poking and sloshing. I'd give most everything I have to see her do it one more time.

In those days all the big coal mines in our area had played out and the small truck mines weren't hiring, so able bodied young men could either head for Ohio or Michigan or join the Army. In 1958 I joined the Marine Corps and stayed on active duty for 22 years. I was offered many opportunities. I went to college, then earned a commission as a Marine officer and a few years later, went on to law school. When I graduated from law school I took the Kentucky bar examination. Although now retired, I am still a member in good standing of the Kentucky bar.

Today I live in Virginia and my visits to Blackey are fewer and somewhat bittersweet.

I try to go back the last part of May each year. But now, instead of crossing the bridge into Blackey, I drive on a few more miles down the river, park and walk up a little hill to where my mother is resting in a peaceful little cemetery overlooking the Kentucky River.

Every time I make that climb I think of the words Karl Davis wrote in his wonderful song, "Kentucky" :

"...When I die I want to rest upon a graceful mountain, so high
For that is where God will look for me."

Thumbnail by 2dCousinDave

David Kinneer
Fredericksburg, Virginia
[Last edited Apr 5, 2010 2:05 PM CST]
Quote | Post #162720 (10)
ImageSharon
Apr 5, 2010 12:42 AM CST
Name: Sharon
Kentucky
Well.
Dave....we might very well be second cousins. I grew up on the other side of Whitesburg, and I can tell the very same stories that you can tell. All about the coal dust, and learning to drive while avoiding coal trucks on roads that weren't wide enough for both of us.

And the train, with the mournful sound of it's whistle bouncing off the mountains as it went around the bend. It went right through the middle of Whitesburg, too.

I go back as often as I can, too. And climb that mountain to visit my mom's grave one more time. And did you ever get in on the making of lye soap? Your mention of boiling water outdoors reminded me.

I graduated from WHS in '60, but you might have gone to Letcher to high school, since I'm not sure how far down in Blackey you were. I do know that bridge very well though, so maybe our paths crossed at one time or another.

Thanks for the picture of the old depot. I can't remember if it's still there or not, but it's good to see it.

It's good to see you here. I hope you'll come back often.
Imagegemini_sage
Apr 5, 2010 9:25 AM CST
Name: Neal Linville
Winchester, KY
That took me back to stories Mom told of growing up in Floyd County, made me a little teary. She was born there in 1927 and moved to Fleming County as a teenager.
ImageSharon
Apr 5, 2010 9:31 AM CST
Name: Sharon
Kentucky
I've forgotten my geography, Neal, but isn't Prestonsburg in Floyd County?
Image2dCousinDave
Apr 5, 2010 10:04 AM CST
Name: Dave Kinneer
Fredericksburg, Virginia
Thank you, Sharran. The depot is long gone. I attended Stuart Robinson School for my first year of high school and then went out to Missouri for the last three years, but that's another story. The Letcher high school in Jeremiah was built about 10 years later.

Two more quick comments about Blackey. First, much of the movie "Coal Miner's Daughter" was filmed in and around Blackey. Many of the locals had minor, mostly nonspeaking parts in the movie. Loretta said Prestonsburg did not look the way she remembered and that some parts of Blackey looked pretty much the way she remembered Prestonsburg back then.

Second, in the mid seventies, Dolly Parton released a song on the B side of her Butterfly album named Blackie (sic), Kentucky. From what I heard, the lyrics were written by a schoolmate of mine and are pretty much autobiographical. She supposedly sent the poem in to Dolly and never heard anything about it after that. Then, when the album was released, Dolly was given credit for both the words and the music. Dolly is a gifted writer and if the story is true, I suspect she did write the music and she probably made significant changes to the words and story line, so I am not that surprised that she took full credit. But I was disappointed that she misspelled the name of the town and it made me wonder if she had even visited Blackey. But the story is somewhat typical of a number of girls that I grew up with and if I can remember the words, I will include them here. I have taken the liberty of correcting the spelling of Blackey.





In my hometown of Blackey, Kentucky
He came passin' through one dark, gloomy day
And I considered myself as lucky
When he told me he would take me away.

And though he was older it made me no difference
His promise of riches was all I could see
At last I could leave the coal mines of Kentucky
And know something better than sad poverty.

Blackey, Kentucky, you know that I'll miss you
But there are other places in the world I'd like to see
So I must take this chance to be something more than nothing
But I'll always hold you in my memory.

But I've never adjusted to sociable living
The friends that he knows, they're all strangers to me
Thousands of miles from Blackey, Kentucky
In a mansion with a husband that never loved me.

He won't let my family and friends come to visit
Because they are country and poor, he's ashamed
Oh but I'd give my life, Lord if I could just go see them
All that's changed about me is my name.

Blackey, Kentucky, oh Lord how I miss you
If I could come back home I'd never leave you anymore
I'd like to see my poor hardworkin' coal minin' Daddy
And Mama and the kids and the friends I knew before.

My world is as black as the coal in Kentucky
He won't let me leave him, there's no way to win
I'll take my own life, dear God please forgive me
But I've got to get back home to Blackey once again.

I've left him a note and in the morning he'll find it
It's my last request and he can't refuse me
I told him to bury me back in Blackey, Kentucky
Where my family and my friends can come and visit me.

Blackey, Kentucky, I'm coming home to you
But different from the way you remember me before
So make me a place and lay me down to rest
And I'll sleep in your arms for evermore.



Here is a picture taken about 1953 of a swinging bridge over the Kentucky River in the upper end of Blackey, just above the point where Rockhouse Creek runs into the river. They used to have a baptizings in the water below and we used to line the bridge to watch. That's me in the foreground and two of my sisters further out on the bridge.

Thumb of 2010-04-05/2dCousinDave/e0ecdd
David Kinneer
Fredericksburg, Virginia
[Last edited Feb 6, 2016 1:26 AM CST]
Quote | Post #163166 (14)
ImageSharon
Apr 5, 2010 10:55 AM CST
Name: Sharon
Kentucky
Ahhhhh, good to see those mountains, even in old photos.

The North Fork of the KY River ran in front of and across the road from the church where I grew up, both within walking distance of my house. They held baptisms there, too, but no swinging bridges over the river. There was however an old stone bridge that crossed it just within sight of the church. People lined that stone bridge to watch the baptisms as well.

Sometime in the 50's there was a store, Martin's department store, in Blackey, we used to do a little shopping there, and I suspect it might have been close to where the old depot was. There were other stores there, too, but I can't remember their names. And a beauty shop that I never entered, but I do remember it. I also can't remember the highway number, maybe 15 or maybe 119....I'd have to look at a map. But I could get there with no problem, that's for sure, no matter the road number.

My brother still lives in Mayking, and I want to go back there this spring. I'll be sure to drive to Blackey and get photos.

I do remember the Dolly Parton song, thanks for the words...sad song.
Image2dCousinDave
Apr 5, 2010 11:29 AM CST
Name: Dave Kinneer
Fredericksburg, Virginia
The highway number is 7. I do not recall any store named Martin's but the ones that were there when I was there were owned by Hardy Killborne, George Matt Hogg, Jack Caudill (later Estill Caudill) Vernon Whitaker and over on the highway and the largest store around, C. B. Caudill's. There was also a shoemaker named Bob Sizemore and a restaurant owned by Gobel Stamp. Mrs. Stamp also had a little beauty shop at the end of the building. It was directly across from the depot. Here is a picture of Caudill's store. Now closed and operating as something of a museum.

Thumb of 2010-04-05/2dCousinDave/a8b809
David Kinneer
Fredericksburg, Virginia
[Last edited Feb 6, 2016 11:21 AM CST]
Quote | Post #163322 (16)
ImageSharon
Apr 5, 2010 11:34 AM CST
Name: Sharon
Kentucky
Maybe it was Whitaker's, I just can't remember. But I do remember the scene above! It's been a long time. But I could tell you all about Mayking and Whitesburg!
Imagegemini_sage
Apr 5, 2010 4:00 PM CST
Name: Neal Linville
Winchester, KY
Shar that's right, Prestonsburg is in Floyd County. Seems Mom said they lived in Herald, does that ring a bell?
ImageSharon
Apr 5, 2010 5:21 PM CST
Name: Sharon
Kentucky
A distant bell.
Lots of tiny towns in the mountains.
ImageSharon
Apr 7, 2010 12:12 AM CST
Name: Sharon
Kentucky
I was thinking tonight of the times when bad things happened and they were all blamed on Virginia. I lived just outside a little town called Mayking, and if you continued up my road, past the holler that led to my house, you would come to the Virginia state line.

On that same road was my elementary school...it was a one room schoolhouse with folding doors that divided the Big Room from the Little Room. I was in the Little Room when the kids told me that a bear had been spotted on up the road where they lived, and they just knew that Bear was making his way down toward my house on his way from Virginia.

That Virginia Bear was big as an outhouse and tall as a coal truck. And it was on its way to my house. From Virginia. I waited for days for that bear. He never did come to my house, but I was ready in case he did.

Another time, late in the fall, we had not had rain in a long time. A wild fire broke out and in those days there were no firefighters, none equipped to handle a wildfire in the mountains anyway. So the fire was creeping up the backside of the mountain behind our house. It had come from Virginia, everybody said. The men went up the mountain to fight the fire, and this went on for two or three days. We could see the glow when we looked up the mountain from our back porch. I was scared to death, and I think the womenfolks were all scared too.

Suddenly one night the fire burst above the rim of the mountain and I could see it very well, I knew it was close, that fire from Virginia. I wasn't allowed outside for very long because smoke was in the air and it was hard to breathe and to see. It kept getting closer during the night, but it was a big mountain. We never left the house but we were ready to go if we needed to.

Finally we could see the fire no longer. I'm not sure if the men put it out or if it was the rain that came that very night. But we were saved from that Virginia fire!

It was years before I'd go into Virginia without fearing for my life.

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