Angie Adams, Physical Therapist, East Kentucky Physical Therapy; Premium, Kentucky:
“My parents are from here. My first fifteen years I lived up in Dayton, Ohio, then I’ve lived here for the last 33 years. At the time, [my family moved to Dayton] for jobs.
My father got a job up there and I was raised up there ‘till I was fifteen. When we lived in Dayton, [my Dad] worked at a printing factory, McCall’s magazine. And then the company shut down. And of course, being from Letcher County, they came back to Letcher County.
He came down here and did strip mining and reclamation. He worked for a strip mining company for years, and he retired from there. He is 74, and still gets out on his 4-wheeler and raises a garden. He and my mother both do.
In my young life, it was every weekend we came to Kentucky. Oh gosh, [the trips were] long and just curvy, curvy, curvy. We didn’t have [highway] 15 and those kind of good roads. It took forever. Seven hours to get to Letcher County from Dayton. But we traveled at night. My Dad had worked second shift, so as soon as he came home at 11:30 at night we’d take off for Kentucky on Friday [and] get here at four or five o’clock in the morning.
Mamaw would get up and fix us breakfast. Ohhh, it was eggs and bacon, and gravy and biscuits. She went all out when we came. I always loved it here. This is where I wanted to be.
I always looked forward to coming down here with my cousins, playing and climbing trees and swinging on grapevines, all those good things. Those were the things that I do remember the most. I hated leaving. I really always wanted to stay here and spend summers here with my grandma.
Oh yeah, [I’m a hillbilly]. I really always have been. It means, we are a special people. Good, family oriented people. I like that. I really dislike [the stereotype]. They always come in here and get the worst of the worst, when there is so much better than that.
We live well. I think they just often come in and look for the bad and that really bothers me. Well yeah, you can [find bad anywhere]. I do go back to Dayton every now then and go to downtown Dayton and see the homeless. It’s bad there, too. It’s everywhere. You just have to look for the good.
Probably one of the saddest times is when my grandfather passed away. He and I were very close and he had a ton of great grandchildren and grandchildren, but I was one that was very close to him. That was a real difficult time for me. I was 28 [when he died].
[My grandfather] loved to fish and play cards. That was what we did. We played cards. He would play rummy for hours on end and I just happened to be one of the grandkids that grew up playing cards. My Dad started me playing cards when I was about five years old. I’ve always been a card player.
He [grandfather] was a coal miner. Worked underground. He never got hurt, and you know those coal miners loved their jobs. He raised eleven children on a miner’s pay and did pretty well. He was just an awesome man. Just a kind, caring man.
I read. I love to get out on the 4-wheeler and get in the mountains, get in the sunshine, hanging out with friends. I love things like that. I’m an outdoors person. I have been hunting. I’m not good at it because I like to talk and I can’t be quiet. But it’s fun and I’m all for hunting.
I really think tourism would be a great thing for here. Some family of mine has cabins up on the mountain. There are people that don’t live around here that would love to come to those places and stay for the weekend. We have a lot of festivals and there’s a lot of things for people to do around here. I don’t think coal is ever going to be what it was, and we have to look for other options.
I would say come down here and visit. Talk to people. We’re a friendly, kind people. Give us a chance. I think you would like the things that we do, and the people that we are.”