Well, I just discovered you by clicking on the Essays tag, and boy, am I awfully glad I did. I’ve written a little here about my time in West Virginia; 13 years up outside of Morgantown. I see you’re from around Charleston; I still have friends over in Culloden.
I moved to WV to marry my first husband. I was 20; a child of New York and then RI. He was 25 and a WV native whose father worked for a big oil & gas firm that moved him up to RI for some off-shore exploration. He was terribly polite, wickedly smart, and the first time I saw him, when I was 16, I said, “I’m going to marry him someday.” That someday was just a few years later.
I happily moved to West Virginia, in part to escape my dysfunctional family. It was a completely different world. Much slower, much more family-oriented. I never really did fit in, for the most part, though I did make some wonderful friends. I’ve written a little about it, in a response piece to someone, a while back, on my experience as a Head Start Family Educator. Reading this makes me want to revisit it. Also: Have you ever seen Mike Morningstar? He doesn’t play anymore, but my goodness he was wonderful. Saw him every year in Glenville at the Folk fest, and in a few Motown/Charlestown bars.
So happy to have found your work, and looking forward to more!