Who are we? I know who I am. I was born a girl two/three miles up a hollow on Stinking Creek. I had five sisters and three brothers, all much older than I so I was the little sister. Since I came along later I remember two of my older sisters who raised me for the most part. My world revolved around my family which included my granny and pappy—my mother’s parents. My older brothers pretty much ignored me except to tease; they did not want a little sister tagging along.
That changed when my older sister took me to school in a one-room school with twenty or more other children. I did know two other children who were close neighbors to us; we sometimes played together when our older sisters visited with each other. I hung close to my sister even though she did not want me to, as she wanted to be with her friends. But soon I liked school and the other children especially the two or three in my grade. There was even a boy my age who was nice at first but who soon became more interested in the other boys and their games.
My world changed some when my older sisters got out of the eight grade and went away somewhere else. But by that time I knew how to walk to school and had made friends of my own.
Before I got out of that school my older brothers and sisters were either married or had moved away. None lived close enough to let me take care of my little nieces or nephews like one of my neighbor girls. I wanted someone to “nuss” like my friend but it just didn’t happen like that for me.
Then suddenly my world changed drastically again. I was fourteen and ready to go to Barbourville to high school. I had been to that town several times with my family but I did not know anything about town life. I was the only girl from my grade school or church on that school bus that first day. More and more children of all ages kept getting on that bus until it was full of children, many of them knew each other. After about an hour of riding we stopped at the Dewitt school where some children got out and others got in. All was confusion to me.
If I thought that was confusion, that was mild compared to the next stop where we all got out in front of the largest building I had ever seen. Most of the others seemed to know where to go and some way, we new ones found the right places. It soon became an orderly confusion each morning as we went to high school. It was a long day for us who lived several miles up the hollows. We would walk thirty minutes to catch the bus at seven each morning. Likewise it was a long way home. In the winter we left home in the dark and got home near dark. By my third year, the bus actually came up the hollow to pick us up at our houses.
I thought the days would never end that first year but suddenly I was a senior and time to make decisions about what was next in my life. Somehow I had become a young lady who had conquered the confusion of time, space, people and expectations.
Suddenly I was no longer just a girl from a big family from a hollow up Stinking Creek; I was a person ready to discover who I was and what I was to become in this much larger world. It was time to discover who I was.