Thursday, February 12, 2009

ABC 20/20 Special : "Children of the Mountains"

I was reading The Wonders Of: Leanne has a post about an ABC special airing 2/13/09 at 10pm eastern time called " A Hidden America: Children of the Mountains." Like Leanne, I am trying not to judge this show before I watch it- but I can't help but to be leary. I can already see the drama unfolding. Talking to poor toothless, barefoot children that have nothing to eat and live in shanties in the woods- yea something like that.

Now my husband and I have lived the mountains our entire life as have our ancestors before us. I can assure you that we both have all our teeth as do our children. We do not live in a shanty nor do we live in a McMansion. If we go barefoot it is because we choose to because we like to feel the earth between our toes.

Here are some stats from Wikipedia about Pocahontas County WV - the county I live in:

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 942 square miles (2,439 km²), of which, 940 square miles (2,435 km²) of it is land and 2 square miles (4 km²) of it (0.17%) is water.

As of the census[2] of 2000, there were 9,131 people, 835 households, and 527 families residing in the county. The population density was 10 people per square mile (4/km²).

The median income for a household in the county was $26,401, and the median income for a family was $32,511. Males had a median income of $26,173 versus $16,780 for females. The per capita income for the county was $14,384. About 12.70% of families and 17.10% of individuals were below the poverty line, including 20.20% of those under age 18 and 14.60% of those age 65 or over.
Now if you look at the above statistics it looks pretty grim: However, we are the diamond in the rough. Most people here live below the poverty level in a financial sense but we are rich in rural self sufficient living.

We live in a small community (see above 10 people per square mile) Our county seat is the only part of the county that has actual stop lights; and we only have 3 of them. We 2 grocery stores, no movie theaters.

We live a simple but humble life. There is a strong sense of community because everyone knows everyone. If they don't know you chances are they will ask who your parents or grandparents are and they will know them. We don't try to keep up with the Jones, because we are all the Jones.

There are some who still do not have electricity. Our state auditor's mother- in-law and father-in-law still do not have power because they choose to. I know because they are my aunt and uncle.

We cling to the simple ways of life because we choose to. Our Appalachia children grow up knowing where their food comes from because they help to raise it. They know that milk comes from a cow and eggs from a chicken not from the grocery store.

We lead the best lifestyle if you think about it:
  • We eat organic food (because we raise it ourselves)
  • We know how to treat people and come together as a community and share with each other and barter.
  • We breath fresh pollution free mountain air all the time
  • The economy doesn't affect as much because we aren't as dependent on money as most people are.
  • Our wisdom to live off the land is tried and true not a fad. We know what works and what doesn't.
  • Our children know how to entertain themselves. We have small town entertainment: old time music jams, dances, football games, hunting, fishing fairs and festivals etc.
  • We don't have to worry about drive by shootings. We encourage our children to learn how to shoot a gun and handle firearms correctly.
  • We respect our elders and listen to them. We don't stick them into a nursing home for someone else to care for - the family/community comes together to care for them - cooking, cleaning, shopping etc.
You can see that none of this would work if it wasn't for the community. We may live in a modern day Waltons Mountain, but I wouldn't trade it for anything.

It seems to me that in the city you are surrounded by people yet you are isolated; in the mountains you are not surrounded by people you are surrounded by freedom and the people you love.


Farmer's Daughter said...

Let's hope the episode doesn't go in the direction of your fears. And I certainly agree that money doesn't define people. We live in CT, in a rich area compared to the rest of the country. However, my family was rich in land, not in money. I vividly remember being called a redneck on the schoolbus. We lived simply so we could stay on the farm, insead of selling it of piece by piece like so many others.
Good for you for carrying on your simple living traditions, I hope to do the same when I have children.

Angelena said...

Thank you for taking the time to comment. Like your family we also love our land and do not wish to see it sold piece by piece. I hope I am wrong in my fears about the special but I watched a preview today and unfortunately I think it is only going to show the negative point of view (ie more drama that way) instead of all the positives.

Really I think they should do a back to the earth movement special to show just how great we do have it here in the country. Those poor folks don't know what they are missing .. to sit on the porch at night and actually be able to see the stars and hear the whippoorwill sing.

TheWritersPorch said...

Give me the 'Mountains ' and it's old ways anyday ! I give anything to have been a pioneer in the Smokies! I'll be sure and check out 20/20! Thanks Angie!

Tatersmama said...

I envy you your lifestyle, I really do. :-)

Check out my blog... You've got an award waiting.

LeAnna said...

Great Post! I wish that everyone could meet the real children of the mountains instead of just the stereotypes.

QuiltedSimple said...

I envy your life. I hope the show does your way of life justice. I think more people need to live like this rather than spending spending, spending. Great post!

Traci said...

I so know what you are talking about...almost every time something is aired about Oklahoma life....they live in trailers or they go "noodling"....I'm not EVEN going to explain that haaaa. When I meet people, they usually ask about the bombing....or now the tornadoes.

Nancy M. said...

I saw a preview for the episode and it doesn't look like it will show good things. I love how you accented all the positives.

I don't live up in the mountains, but down in the country. Our way of life is pretty similar to yours. My city friend makes fun of me because almost everyone in my town is related to me. It's wonderful having that much support, though.

Farmchick said...

That was a great post...I totally understand! Being a farmgirl from ND....most people think of us as wearing bib overalls and having a blade of wheat stuck in our teeth!! Very far from the truth! :)