Earl Moore, Working on Masters in Computer Security Administration, Age 39; Hindman, Kentucky (Frog Town):
(Today is Earl’s Birthday. Happy Birthday Earl!!!)
“I was born in Pikeville, Kentucky at the Pikeville Hospital. My parents had the local CPA firm (Hindman). They always did books and all that for all the coal companies so I got to know all about the coal mines and stuff without going into the coal mines which was a good thing to me. They were on top of the old Ben Franklin Store originally, which is where the Artisan Center is now in downtown Hindman. That used to be the Ben Franklin Dime Store, general store. I loved it because I could just run down the steps and get me a candy bar or whatever. After that they moved behind the new courthouse.
I experimented with drug use. It’s prevalent in the area. It touches everyone in the area. I fell into that circle. In this area you feel like there is nothing to do and that gave me something to do. That was a very dark time in my life, a low point. I saw the error of my ways though. Luckily I now see things from the other side of drug addiction. I just hope that kids can understand that there is really nothing good that comes out of drug addiction. You are just wasting your life away. When I look back I wonder why I thought it was fun. There is nothing fun about it. It encompasses your whole life. That was a very, very bad part of my life.
Never wanted to work in the coal mines. I’ve got family that has worked in the coal mines. I just saw what it was doing to people’s lives. They would be under there and their backs would get so bad and their lungs, just all the health risks that came with it. It’s one of those risk/ reward things. I just didn’t see the reward being worth the risk of being under there you know. The coal crashing on your head or knowing you are coming out of there with black lung or a hurt back. That’s guaranteed if you go underground. That’s basically what you see around here now. Underground is what is meant for you after you are dead, not for while you are living.
I’m presently working on my Masters in Computer Security Administration. What I love is building guitars, artsy stuff. I hang out down at the Hindman Artisan Center’s luthier shop building guitars. Doug Naselroad (Artisan Center Resident Luthier) showed me kind of the ropes, got me started, got me on my feet. I’m in the process of building my own shop here in Frog Town.
I bought a house in Frog Town, just down from my mother, of course, because my whole family was born and raised there. My great grandmother lived there. The old barn is still standing where she had her cattle and horses and so forth. We are talking about back in the early nineteen hundreds.
I loved growing up here because it was a nice family atmosphere, especially in Frog Town. Frog Town is where the community kind of gathered. That’s where all the kids got together and played. We had whiffle ball games, we road our four-wheelers, we could hit the mountains, go hiking, just beat down a briar patch with a stick. All that kind of stuff is what we ended up doing. I feel like I’m the last generation that was raised doing the mountain stuff. I was lucky because I grew up with the (older) group there in Frog Town that knew the mountain stuff and passed it down to us. I’m sure I don’t know as much as my grandfather did; but I did learn a lot of the old traditions and stuff.
I just hate that the old traditions are being neglected by young folks because of video games, MySpace, Facebook social networking and all of that. I was talking to a kid the other day who was heading to Natural Bridge State park to go hiking. I ask him why he didn’t just go hiking here. He said he would get lost here. I ask if didn’t know how to count hollers and creeks and ridges as you go by to know how far away from home you are. He said, ‘what are you talking about? Ridges?’ I said really? I told him, ‘me and you need to go in the mountains sometime so you know the way to get around this area’.
I do have so many great memories of growing up here. I remember the Christmases growing up, Christmas and the holidays because the families get together, spending time together. At Christmas we would meet at my granny’s house. We would all get there about six because we would all do our other Christmases first. That would be Christmas Eve actually. Christmas Eve was the presents and all that. That was when the kids would have all the fun. That’s the part I remember and enjoyed the most because we were all together. We would have 25 to 30 people together at my grandmother’s house. Here we all are sitting in the living room with everybody opening their presents individually. We would go around in a circle. You got to see everybody’s present, the enjoyment and togetherness you get from that.
Times like that, staying up in my granny’s attic, me and my four cousins, sleeping up there, messing around and having a good time playing poker, the family poker game, nickels and dimes. It wasn’t like we were making fortunes. At the end of the night if I made 20 dollars I did good, I had a great night.
Now it’s not the same. I have uncles; grandparents that have all passed away and I miss that part of the family although I know they are off in a better place. I’m here without them so I’m selfish in that respect.
I don’t know where Appa-Lay-Sha is; Appalachia is where I’m at. Honestly, growing up I thought the word hillbilly was kind of a bad thing but now I love it. As I have grown older and come to know what a true hillbilly is, I’m proud to be one. I listen to a lot of the band Goose Creek Symphony, Charlie Gearheart. I started listening to them when I was 12 years old. I went over to a bar in Floyd County when I was 14 to hear them play. Folks slipped me in to watch the Goose Creek concert, which is amazing to me. It one of those lasting memories because I got to hear Charlie Gearheart do his 'Hillbilly Nation’ poem. It’s something I feel, It’s something I’m proud of now.
You look around here now; you think it might have been hard living here, growing up here, especially our ancestors, to get through those hard times and those struggles. It’s like my grandfather said, when the depression hit they didn’t really notice because they were already in a depression. It wasn’t that big of a change of life for them because they were already having to struggle to survive. Wall Street didn’t mean a whole lot to Eastern Kentucky because Eastern Kentucky has always kind of been cut off. I still consider us 10 years behind the rest if the world. I appreciate that. I like being 10 years behind. That always gives us 10 years to prepare. That’s how I feel.
But people are happy here. Even if families just have a dirt floor, they are still the happiest families I have ever seen. People around here have the warmest hearts and the greatest courage I have ever seen.”