Rebecca Brock. Chiropractic Office Manager; Evarts, Kentucky:
“I was born in Harlan. I grew up in a little community called Kildav. When I grew up everybody knew everybody; we got to ride our bikes till dark. When mamaw came out on the porch and hollered your name and you heard it you knew you had to get home. You had neighbors that watched you; you knew to behave ‘cause word got back. I liked to climb trees, I liked to play house, play school.
I wouldn’t live anywhere else. I think that the mountain people are full of heritage and you can’t find that everywhere else. We’re more close knit; everybody knows everybody. I think we’re a resourceful type of people. We might not have nothing to eat but we know how to grow it; we know how to hunt it. Appalachian people are resourceful. The stereotypes of Appalachian people, I guess there is a certain few of us that are like that and I believe that could come out in all of us in one point in time. Why does the media do anything they do? I guess just to make one person look bad to offset somebody else. Money has everything to do with it. Oh, yeah. “Dumb hillbillies ain’t too smart and can’t talk right.” That we are not all dumb, inbred hicks from a holler. We’re educated, we’re down to earth, we’re very family oriented. I think that’s what I’d tell them. I consider myself a hillbilly. I was raised in the hills. When you go away from here everybody’s like, “Wow, you’ve got an accent”. Yeah, I was raised in a holler, in Harlan, so yeah, I’m a hillbilly.
Apple-at-cha. It’s the way I’ve always said it. It don’t really bother me ‘cause I talk the way I wanna talk and they talk the way they wanna talk. I don’t like putting other people down for the way they talk. I really don’t care what they think about the way I talk either.
By no means is it easy (in the mountains). You know, when you’re growing up you have to work for what you want. If you want that bike or whatever you gotta go out there and work. That’s what I had to do. It never was just handed to you. I think it makes you a stronger as a person as you grow older ‘cause you know that to get what you want you’ve got to work for it.
The hardest time I had in my life was three years ago on January 24th my father passed away; he had stage four lung cancer. That was a very hard time. My dad worked in the coal mines off and on when I was little. He held down several jobs; he was a mechanic. What really kept him from holding down a job and really providing was he was an alcoholic. It was hard for him to hold down a job. He wasn’t an abusive alcoholic by any means. Me and my dad were best friends. He watched cartoons with me, we rode dirt bikes. I think he always wanted to kill me ‘cause he’d put me on something and he’d say, “Hey Bec, do a wheelie!” “Okay dad, I got this!” And I would go flippin’ backward or he’d put me on a go cart and say, “Go ahead and drive it!” You’d drive and the steering wheel would come off bout ready to go into the creek. He got me into some trouble but he was always there to bail me out. He was 49 when he passed; it was very early.
Having my kids. My daughter Kytalynn, she is eight now. She is sassy; she’s my sparkle. She really is, she’s my sparkle. She’s a big helper, she helps me take care of my son, Gideon, who is one. She does pageants. I always love watching her go onstage. She just lights it up. I try to teach Kytalynn especially, no matter if you are a girl or not, if you want to do something, by all means go do it. Don’t let nobody tell you that you can’t, because we can. She see’s me as far as working a job, taking care of the house and kids and still being able to do all of it.
We like to competition barbeque. I think it’s fun to cook. I approach competition as just kinda cooking for my friends. I put it out there whenever we’re cooking, I’m like hey, just cooking for our buddies in the back yard. It’s definitely a lot of stress. We prepare for a week to get ready for a competition. Monday we’re prepping our meats. I work only two days a week, but I work Tuesday and Thursday, on them two days you know I’m picking up what we’re needing whether we’re needing like butter or whatever. Wednesday we’re making our injections and rubs. You don’t just stop that. You still got the house, you still got to cook dinner, you still gotta mow grass. You still got all that to do around everything. Sometimes I feel I’m about paper thin. When we (get to a competition) I kinda relax. My goal is to have fun cause if it’s not fun I don’t want to do it. I always tell Jerry that, “Let’s have fun, let’s go enjoy us being together, being able to see people and talk to people and just enjoy it.”
I love it. I’m very proud of him. I love being a coal miner’s wife. Every night when he goes (to work) I don’t like saying “bye”. I say, “See you tomorrow.” It’s never “bye”. See, you just don’t know when they’re gonna come back. It’s always hug and kisses and, “How was your night?” The bodily injury? He’s already had one back surgery so bodily injury is one thing that always that weighs; just wondering, it’s not if he’s gonna get hurt but when is he gonna get hurt. The way I always look at it is when they sign on for a job as a coal miner they know what they’re getting into. They know it. They ain’t going in there like, “Oh crap! I didn’t know we was gonna do this.” Just like somebody in the military that goes over to Iraq be like, “Oh crap! I didn’t know you was gonna shoot back at me.” You knew what you were getting into.
(Coal mines closing) It’s hitting Harlan pretty hard right now. I always say if they close down the last couple of mines we got you might as well go ahead and turn Harlan into a lake. That’s all it’s gonna be good for. There’s nothing unless they come up with some kinda industrial park or something then Harlan ain’t gonna be nothing. It’s just gonna be a memory. Cumberland, Kentucky is way worse. You go up there and the stores are all empty, everything looks abandoned. You can sit back and picture how it could be in it’s heyday. Same way with the main street of Evarts, they’ve had to consolidate the schools because there’s not enough kids to go to school, because there’s not enough jobs to sustain families so everybody is having to move. That’s where we went to school, that’s where we graduated. It’s so sad ‘cause we live half a mile above the high school. We go by it everyday and just like, “Dang, I can’t believe that place is closed down.”