1928 - Alderson High School - 1968


Appalachian Farewell
 Herman King 09

Recently as I entered the local post office, a gentleman about my age brushed past me on his way out. He was whistling "Simple Gifts," the old Shaker tune that Aaron Copland developed into the beautiful symphonic suite, Appalachian Spring. What better subject than Appalachia? The oldest mountain range in the United States. Unlike the majestic Rockies which soar against the sky, the Appalachians are low and gentle. They embrace you like a fond parent.

Ahh, the mountains. You can leave them but you never forget them. Especially if you have Scots-Irish in your bloodline. They were the last great wave of emigration from the British Isles, probably the poorest but also the proudest. They demanded respect and were willing to fight for it.

They weren't called he Fighting Irish for nothing. The Scotts-Irish spread down from Pennsylvania into the Appalachian Highlands. When the great Indian uprising almost wiped out the European settlers, that fighting spirit came in handy. They became known as "hillbillies." Eventually everyone who lived in the mountains were called that. Although elements of the coastal elites considered the term pejorative, the hillbillies themselves didn't. Why should anyone be ashamed they were residents of this beautiful region, bursting with life in spring, maturing in summer, aflame with color in the fall and majestic when covered with a mantle of snow in winter? O Appalachia, no matter how far from thee I roam, your name to me will always mean HOME."