first published (in slightly edited form and without illustrations)
in Appalachian Journal Vol. 38: 2-3 (Winter/Spring 2011)
© by Chris Bolgiano
The Fall, 2010 issue of Appalachian Journal, which focused on regional identity, hit me where it hurts: in my self-proclaimed, hardly-won, and wholly un-censused identity as Appalachian. Because nowhere in seventy pages of scholarly surveys, speculations, and definitions could I find myself.
Researchers reach out to fourth generation descendants born in industrial cities far from the mountains and deem them Appalachian, and I totally get that. I’ve come to understand, and not just from Loyal Jones, that you can get an Appalachian into Heaven but she’ll still insist on going home to the mountains every other weekend.
I understand, because even though I wasn’t born here, I couldn’t live anywhere else but here on Cross Mountain, with Little North Mountain in front of me. And the trailer court down the road. Continue reading “Becoming Appalachian”