“[Having a twin is] fun, because you’ll always have someone that’s there for you, and you always have a friend from birth until all the way up to adulthood. We do everything together.”
Brady Adkins, Age 14; Harlan, Kentucky:
“I’ve lived here my whole life. [I don’t think I’ll always live here]. I just feel like it’s too small. There are not many things to do at all.
My Mom is a Social Worker. She’s taught me life skills, and how to be the person I am.
My Dad passed away when I was two. He was a teacher. I’m pretty sure he had a seizure. I have a step-dad and he’s a State worker. He’s a construction worker that works with the roads and stuff. When I was in Cub Scouts, he would always help us with the Pinewood Derby.
We’ve always had a close connection [with our grandparents]. One just moved about a year and a half ago to Richmond, and my Grandmother on my Mom’s side still lives here. She’s a good cook. She does a dinner for every holiday, and she does ham, mashed potatoes, macaroni, corn, all kinds of cakes; a little bit of everything.
I have a stepbrother who is twenty-one, and an identical twin brother, Caleb, who is fourteen. It’s kind of cool, but at the same time, people get us confused a lot, and that gets annoying. When we were when we were younger we would switch places, but not so much anymore. [Having a twin is] fun, because you’ll always have someone that’s there for you, and you always have a friend from birth until all the way up to adulthood. We do everything together. He likes football and basketball, and I just cheer.
I like to flip and tumble. I’m a cheerleader for the Harlan High School [Green Dragons]. [My happiest time] was probably when I made the cheerleading team. I was excited. I’m the only [guy on the squad]. There is a lot of practicing, [and when we travel] sometimes, the rides are long. I do well in school; A’s and B’s. I’m not really sure [what I’ll choose as a career]. I’ve thought about becoming a teacher, but then I’ve also thought about becoming an orthodontist.
[My saddest time was] when my great-grandfather died. He was very funny, and he liked to play checkers. We would say, ‘You look nice today.’ And he said, ‘I am nice.’ It was probably two years ago. It was sad. They moved to Richmond so that he could have better medical care and everything, but they had the funeral here. My family, we go to the Poor Fork Church of Christ. He had his funeral just at the funeral home. I miss him.
(What makes Appalachia special?) Probably the mountains. They’re just not everywhere, but there’s a lot around here. We’re all very close, and the people, we can depend on them for anything.
(Appalachian stereotypes in the media) Well, they haven’t really gotten the chance to know how we’re like, so I don’t think they should be critiquing us. We all care about each other and we’re all close. Some people don’t expect us to be as smart as we are. The people in [Appalachia] are different than what they think. They should come visit. Probably at least for a week.”