Told by Octavia Sexton
I hate Appalachian stereotyping, but after traveling across the country I realize we are different – but not in the ignorant way we are often portrayed. We are rooted in traditions and moral values passed through generations and we aren’t scattered like ants without direction. We know where we come from and who we are. We are a part of the mountains and they are a part of us. We might leave the mountains, but they never leave us. No matter where we go, we always want to come back home even if it is after we die. This story about Uncle Ames is an example of that.
Growing up in Appalachia, I attended a one-room school, hauled water from a spring and used an outhouse. I married young and we lived in 2 rooms. There were times we did not have food. After struggling in poverty for years, I entered college hoping for a better future. I received a B.A. in history/English education and have been telling and teaching with story over 25 years. It is strange I grew up a storyteller, yet had to go to college to get the doors open to make a living at it. Still – my performances are authentic representations of the tradition from which I come.