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In Nigeria where I have traveled and worked as a pottery teacher, I see diversity of human-tribal condition at every turn. Contrasts and comparisons "at home" make me even more constantly aware of differences in every county and state. Eastern Kentucky sure ain't like East Tennessee. There is certain variation. But I travel "at home" with a common language and experience there that seems viable also in North Georgia, Alabama and mountainous South and North Carolina. Feeling this doesn't make it the truth. But feeling "at home" is a part of our being alive, and our creation. The social scientist will document it. For me the idea of being in the southern mountains is all-at-once change: leaving and staying. Being amidst terrific technological impact on the pre-industrial human ideas. Church, School, Community , Mother, Father, God and Man. But being, that is all at once alive and concerned and involved and changing. What is the Appalachian experience? My purpose now can only be to raise the question and leave it as a moot monument. My intuition tells me that here is a unique situation. But beyond the "whether-or-not" discussion is the larger issue of human identity. Being, as we are, in this certain place, gives us a particular reference: tradition and natural beauty; technological confrontation. Does it take a bomb to shock us into the full consciousness of the world's fragility in life? These thoughts create "deliberate entanglements" weaving a certain whole cloth as time moves us like a metaphysical loom. Cloth-maker, pot-maker, word-stringer! The clay calls me back to action, ordinary work, utilizing thought, yes, but shaping substance and wondering as the wheel spins. A Felt Linkage by JIM MILLER The editor of a Kentucky weekly recently expressed concern about his county's loss of skilled and educated young people. He made a unique proposal. Let's tax the incomes of people who have been educated in the county but who went elsewhere to earn a living, he suggested. The tax ought to be levied on the incomes of teachers, doctors, lawyers, and skilled workers for the first twenty years of their employment outside the county. This proposal didn't go unchallenged. A letter to the editor promptly pointed out that the county didn't educate a single 45 teacher, doctor or lawyer; that the high school emphasized vocational training and, even so, seventy-five per cent of its graduates had to go out of the county to find jobs. Also, most of those who went on to a college or university elsewhere couldn't hope to return to the county because opportunities for professionals and highly skilled workers were strictly limited there. It's an old problem and there's no satisfactory solution. People have been drawn away from the place of their birth ever since Catullus went up to Rome, ever since German boys joined the Roman legions as mercenaries. And surely for centuries before that. If the writer of Genesis had been a sociologist, he would have noted there were unemployed men living down in the boondocks who got word they were hiring on at the Tower of Babel and so they struck out with wives and children and lived in a tent jungle near the construction site, living in London in the late 19th century, Arnold Bennett, the novelist, commented that he knew hardly any native Londoners. Almost everyone he knew had, like himself, come up from the provinces. People leave home. Then at some point, for economic, professional, political or even spiritual reasons, they discover they can never return. Certainly since Thomas Wolfe wrote his last novel it has been axiomatic, for Americans, at least, that you can't go home again. Obviously many people all over the country do leave home, are educated, and then return permanently to live just half a mile down the road from Mama. They return as teachers, doctors, administrators, social workers. They enter family businesses , the law firm with their father and three brothers. You can go home again even in Appalachia. Huey Perry, '57, went home. In his recent book, They'll Cut Off Your Project...


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pp. 45-49
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