Appalachia Appalachia Through My Eyes

Appalachia Through My Eyes – Sisters In Appalahcia

My life in appalachia sisters in appalachia

Appalachian sisters walking down a dirt road in North Carolina.

Sweet sisters still willing to hold onto each other like they’re in kindergarten, even though they’re nearly grown. Right in the middle of those tough teenage years when you’re trying to figure out where you’re going and what you’re going to do with the rest of your life.

Answers no one their age could know, yet society tells them they must decide now or else all will be lost.

When they were toddlers someone would stop us to ask if they were twins Chatter would say “Yes and we’re sisters too.”


Appalachia Through My Eyes – A series of photographs from my life in Southern Appalachia.



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  • Reply
    David Kaynor
    March 19, 2019 at 1:23 am


    I think my comments may be the first in six years!

    I love reading your writings and I really appreciate the thoughts your readers share. You have cultivated a nice community of thoughtful people here.

    Among your readers, I may have an unusually (if not uniquely) evolving perspective with regard to Chitter and Chatter. By the way, I do believe I know who’s which.

    My first experiences of them were in a teacher-student relationship during Dance Musicians’ Week at the Folk School. Whatever year that was, it was a good year for everyone in the class. Your daughters were a major reason.

    As the years went by, those teacher-student relationships evolved and became friendships. The friendships, in turn, evolved, becoming increasingly inspiring, heartwarming, fun, and able to grow and sustain, not just during happy times, but during sad times, as well.

    In my time, Chitter and Chatter have evolved: From cute kids to good, rapidly-growing students; as good, ever-growing, ever-deepening musicians; from fun-to-play-tunes-with younger people to the greatest of music partners: Solid, deep, total musicians still able to laugh at themselves amid their growing and increasingly recognized excellence. They’re funny, fun, engaging, also forthrightly loving and caring when we work together. Playing music with them is an honor and delight, powerfully rewarding, and soul-satisfying. They have become dear, steadfast friends.

    You’ll get no unbiased opinions from me. And now, having said that, here’s my opinion:

    Chitter and Chatter are on the road. They’ll likely have to travel some of it without you. However, their navigational skills are up to the challenge. I believe this to be due in large part to the love, support, and security you and the Deer Hunter have provided.

    My original intent in writing this was to comment on the pressure on many young people to make adult decisions prematurely. I guess I strayed. Still, it all feels pertinent …

    Best wishes from the Connecticut River Valley during maple sugaring season.

  • Reply
    Patti Tappel
    March 3, 2013 at 2:29 pm

    How sweet they are!

  • Reply
    March 3, 2013 at 6:49 am

    Does my heart good to see sisters being that good—and I like Chatters remark of not just being twins but sisters too—hope their bond never changes…

  • Reply
    Don Casada
    March 2, 2013 at 10:55 pm

    I’m pretty sure I know where that picture was taken 😉
    Same general area as this one:
    (memorable day)

  • Reply
    March 2, 2013 at 10:26 pm

    I know just what she’s talking about. Sisters can be both a blessing and a burden, at the very same time. LOL
    God bless.

  • Reply
    March 2, 2013 at 5:20 pm

    I finally made it out of my hollar, had over 2″ of the white
    stuff at Topton. I love it!
    There is a place in Nantahala up
    the Winding Stairs Rd. that looks
    just like where Chitter and Chatter are walking away. You and
    the Deer Hunter have provided lots
    of love for them and someday you’ll see them walking toward

  • Reply
    B. ruth
    March 2, 2013 at 4:39 pm

    and Karen…LOL…I just read the comments…I am past 70 and still think of things I want to do when I grow up, too…That is what keeps us ticking, keep trying to make goals…uhhh or is that a “bucket list”….LOL
    Thanks Tipper,

  • Reply
    March 2, 2013 at 3:17 pm

    It’s more difficult, it seems, in this day and age to decide where your life is going. However, think about something you might enjoy and start out with that goal. When it doesn’t feel like it is going to work, don’t change too quickly, but finish it and then head for the new goal. To me, life is about goals and achievements. College isn’t for everyone right away, sometimes you need to wait a year or so and then make some decisions. However, the sisters here already have a profession, and a good one at that, to continue working with and then head to a new goal, each their own.

  • Reply
    Grandma Sallie Covolo
    March 2, 2013 at 8:50 am

    This photo of Chitter and Chatter brings back memories of hiking in the mountains of NC with my beloved sister long, long ago. Beautiful photo and Beautiful girls.

  • Reply
    March 2, 2013 at 1:38 pm

    However much I love my brother, I’ve always wanted to have a sister. I think bonds between sisters are special.

  • Reply
    Karen Larsen
    March 2, 2013 at 10:35 am

    I am in my 60s and STILL don’t know what I want to be when I grow up!

  • Reply
    March 2, 2013 at 10:21 am

    B-we had about an inch of snow when we got up-but most of it has melted or been blown away by the bitter cold wind!
    Blind Pig The Acorn
    Celebrating and Preserving the
    Culture of Appalachia

  • Reply
    March 2, 2013 at 10:04 am

    When I was 17, one of my good friends was a man in his late 70s; he had been a farmer, his little finger was the size of my thumb from years of milking by hand before the time of the milking machine. He told me of the harness-makers making the ‘tugs’, the four-layer leather lines that went from the hames to the trace chains; he taught me the proper way to sharpen an axe and then showed me how to hang a new handle on the axe-head. He also taught me to play the fiddle.
    If I were to offer advice to teen-aged twin girls, I’d say “Cultivate the friendship of the elders, for their knowledge is precious and becoming scarce,and soon will pass into oblivion. Pay attention to their words lest their lifetime of knowledge be forgotten. Besides, they’ll appreciate your company more than you will ever know.”

  • Reply
    B. ruth
    March 2, 2013 at 10:03 am

    I love the picture of the girls!
    Sometimes I have wished for a sister. There have been many near sisters in my life…friends that were close…to talk to and share part of my life with. Some have now passed on, and some remain far from my home…
    The girls are very blessed indeed to have each other as friends and sisters….and twins…LOL
    Thanks Tipper, great post.
    Do you have any snow..we had flurries this morning.

  • Reply
    March 2, 2013 at 9:31 am

    This is a great picture! Sisters…nothing like sisters:) It’s good they have each other to lean on while thinking about life.

  • Reply
    March 2, 2013 at 9:28 am

    What a blessing it is to have a sister…especially at this time in their lives. What a lucky, Mama, too!

  • Reply
    March 2, 2013 at 9:01 am

    To young to decide, that is for sure. They are lovely and talented young ladies. The advice I gave my daughters: 1. Get as much education as you can. 2. Follow your heart. 3. Don’t be afraid of change.
    Enjoy their next few years at home.

  • Reply
    March 2, 2013 at 8:53 am

    They look as though they know where they’re going to me!

  • Reply
    March 2, 2013 at 8:43 am

    Once a sister, always a sister and best friend.

  • Reply
    Jane Bolden
    March 2, 2013 at 8:41 am

    Very sweet! It’s difficult being a teen. Enjoy the carefree days and create those wonderful memories.

  • Reply
    Ed Ammons
    March 2, 2013 at 8:25 am

    You are truly blessed!

  • Reply
    Mike McLain
    March 2, 2013 at 8:21 am

    Nice picture. I wish I had answers for them regarding what to do with their lives. I am retiring in June, made a nice living changed paths once, but still wonder if I should have taken yet a different path. My life has been blessed, however.
    The best advice I can give is to do whatever it is you do with focus, while leaving enough time to make sure that the spirit is being cared for also, and that family and friends have some priority. The material things don’t count for much in the final analysis.

  • Reply
    Miss Cindy
    March 2, 2013 at 8:21 am

    I love the picture and I love the thought. Yes, indeed, they are sisters, make no mistake about that.
    They are much too young to be asked to make life decisions. That’s like getting married at 16…..much to young.

  • Reply
    Eva Nell Mull, Ph.D.
    March 2, 2013 at 7:56 am

    Oh Tipper! Did you ever stir up memories for me with this morning’s topic. Dirt roads through dense forests were all we ever walked on as we did our ‘outings’ and chores! Even today such walks are my preference instead of ‘groomed’ trails in the city!
    Your questions regarding WHAT THE GIRLS WANT TO DO WITH THEIR LIVES is a bit over my head! I would just say the girls have to believe! BELIEVE IN THEMSELVES AND THINK AS THEY GO DOWN THESE WOODED TRAILS OF LIFE!
    Regards, Eva Nell
    p.s. We have chosen the publisher for “Fiddler of the Mountains” – now the waiting begins!

  • Reply
    Ethelene Dyer Jones
    March 2, 2013 at 7:31 am

    Life is tough sometimes.
    And growing up is a battle.
    Decisions to be made
    Pull and stampede and rattle
    At the corners of the brain
    Come each day again and again
    To beg for ready answer.
    If life were easy there would be
    No uncertainties, no changes
    Necessary, no cross-roads to choose
    But life is a way…and a way,
    And sometimes we go one direction
    And then when a bridge is out
    Must turn around and choose again.

  • Reply
    Sheryl Paul
    March 2, 2013 at 7:30 am

    Sisters are special

  • Reply
    March 2, 2013 at 7:07 am

    They have certainly grown into 2 Beautiful sisters and fine young Ladies. Society or no society they still have a lot of time to just be Sisters before they have to make any BIG decisions about their future.

  • Reply
    Gorges Smythe
    March 2, 2013 at 6:02 am

    Obviously, you done well raising them. Congratulations and God bless you all!

  • Reply
    March 2, 2013 at 5:06 am

    You sure have an eye for what makes a good photo! Two daughters walking up a dirt road, in black and white, holding hands, and taken from behind! Now, if that don’t grab your imagination! I think I’ve told you before but I envy you that (what must by now) a massive photo collection.
    I have known several twins during my day and there is a closeness they have that is always unmatched.

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