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The South
Appalachian Memories

I grew up in the North Georgia Mountains. For as long as I can remember, our family lived in modern housing, and my father worked as a machinist. Some of our older relatives and other old people that we knew still lived the old-fashioned way, though. Many of them had never put in indoor plumbing. When we visited them as children, we found their outhouses, pumps and cisterns a perpetual source of fascination. It was a little scary to have to go into that old outhouse, carefully checking for spiders and snakes. I never ran into the feared snake.

I remember that my Aunt Rosie had a cistern on the front porch. We loved to draw up water, for no other reason than to play, which concerned Aunt Rosie. "There's water in the bucket," she would say. "Drink that." The old bucket and dipper always sat beside the cistern. The function of the cistern was to draw up rainwater from a concreted dug-out. The bucket would be filled. Everyone who wanted to drink could dip from the bucket and drink from the dipper. Some of the people had a manual pump, like the pump on the movie, The Miracle Worker (a Helen Keller biography). Everyone that I knew had electricity, though some of the older ones had only a single outlet in the living rooms and bedrooms. The cord hung from the ceiling and held a single light bulb, and sometimes an additional socket in the same fixture. I worked with a woman who remembered living in northern Alabama in the late 1950's, in a house that had no electricity.

Older people told me about going up into the mountains to pick chestnuts before the American Chestnut blight.

The Appalachian Mountains have long been the subject of documentaries and popular movies. Even so, finding relevant sites on the Internet has not been the easiest task. Keeping the links updated has been even harder. So often, information on the Appalachian region is either a sub-section of a library or university databank, or is a small, obscure site developed by an interested individual. In either case, it is often difficult to provide a persistent link to the site. Here are some selected sites. Please report broken links to dkp ""at" southernmuse.com. Thanks!

Appalachian Directories
Digital Library of Appalachia

Historic Interest
Appalachian Summit
The Appalachian Quarterly
Appalachian Traveller

Museum of Appalachia (Tennessee)

All About Kudzu

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