When I take that curvy part of Interstate 40 between Asheville and Hickory, North Carolina, deep breathes come easily. The stiffness in my neck releases and relaxes. The ‘important’ issues in my life lose their power. The mighty spruce trees reaching for the sky quiet my racing thoughts. The land all around belongs to me, beckons me. I’m home in a place I’ve never lived.
Granny, if she were alive today, would tell you she escaped Appalachia, walking, holding my mother’s small hand. It was 1935 and Granny was twenty-five, a widow, and grieving mother, who had just lost her two-year-old daughter. Her small farm was taken from her. She felt she had nothing to lose. Her sheer determination landed her in Atlanta, a city she loved until she died in 1993. When World War II began, Granny went to work for Bell Bomber and built B-29s, a Rosie the Riveter. Out of each weekly pay check, she paid a house payment on her small house, so she would never be homeless again.