|My mother was born on May 8, 1912 in Prestonburg, Kentucky
in the Eastern Appalachian Mountains. Her ancestors were Scotch/Irish
and came to Virginia as indentured servants in the middle 1700's. They were
fiercely independent people and the lush hills and valleys of the
Appalachians suited them but it was harsh country and it was hard to scrape
a living from the rocky soil.
I remember a land covered by wildflowers and berry bushes and hard working people who could always take time out to help a neighbor or tell a good story but my mother's memories are of a hardscrabble life where children worked in the fields as soon as they could walk. Mother's life wasn't easy. She lost her father, a school teacher, to typhoid when she was only three. Her mother married soon after as it was virtually impossible for widow with three small children to raise them by herself. Her stepfather was uneducated and a cruel man who resented having to feed and clothe her and her brothers.