Appalachia Appalachia Through My Eyes

Appalachia Through My Eyes – Teeth

My life in appalachia Teeth

I’ve always had big chompers-you know the kind that people kid you about. Like: she could eat corn through a picket fence or she’s got a mouth full of piano keys to bad she can’t play’em.

I remember a little boy-well not that much littler than me-telling me I looked like a rabbit. We were riding the bus home together like we did every day-I knew then-and know now-that he wasn’t trying to be mean I really did look like a rabbit.

Funny how we blame/thank our families for our physical traits. You know like “poor little Lisa she got Uncle Lou’s nose” or “That pretty Tammy got her Daddy’s thick black hair and her Momma’s blue eyes.”

My teeth-are Wilson teeth. I have more than a few cousins who walk around with the same big chompers that I do. When Chitter and Chatter got their braces off I just knew they’d have my big teeth. I was sorta shocked to see neither girl has my teeth-theirs are not quite as big and are all nice and even like I’ve always wished mine were.

Chatter has Miss Cindy’s hands and feet; I have Granny’s hands and eyes but Pap’s cheekbones; Chitter favors the Wilsons while Chatter favors The Deer Hunter and his family. But none of us can figure out where Chitter got her feet.

This post makes me laugh-because while most people are pondering the problems of the universe-the Blind Pig family is busy wondering whose feet Chitter has.


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


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  • Reply
    Bonding Austin Texas
    November 30, 2012 at 12:58 pm

    This post is in fact a pleasant one it assists new the
    web visitors, who are wishing for blogging.

  • Reply
    October 29, 2012 at 11:51 am

    your teeth are nice n white natural like they should be i am 69 and only visited a dentist 5 times in my life to get rid of the toothace i can still chew hard tac known as hard bread some people say i am like my grandfather clarke i think i have a bit of my mom n dad in me still thanks

  • Reply
    October 9, 2012 at 11:05 pm

    Yeh, I think all families are like this and especially when a newborn arrives, it is either he looks like his mother or father. After my father passed away, my family and friends who knew him, said as long as your around your father is still alive as you just look like him. I feel proud to be an image of my father, but I think I have the heart of my mother, I know I have the love of them both there.

  • Reply
    October 4, 2012 at 10:44 am

    Well either you teeth shrunk or that little boy didn’t know what to say to you, because I think you have a beautiful smile, even it is to show off your gorgeous teeth.
    I myself believe in contemplating the better things in life like who has who’s feet. (or is that whom’s)

  • Reply
    September 30, 2012 at 10:35 pm

    All my life I’ve heard people say that I favored my Dad. But as I get older I see my Mother looking back at me in the mirror.

  • Reply
    September 30, 2012 at 4:17 am

    I had got my blue-black wavy hair from my grandmother – the only member of the family who had black hair. I used to like it when I was younger till one day a classmate said I looked like a ..crow! Right now, I really can’t imagine myself wearing my hair long or NOT being blond!

  • Reply
    September 29, 2012 at 11:40 am

    Families are great…and uncles, aunts and cousins sure do tease. My sister wound up with large size feet for her short body and and uncle said, “she’d be a tall gal if half her leg weren’t turned down for foot.”
    As for teeth…I have 5 children. My firstborn has a beautiful straight set of teeth. The other 4 all had to have braces and one day someone asked how come the youngest 4 didn’t have teeth like their sister and the youngest son said, “well, she was born before our Dad served in the Vietnam War and we came along after he returned..”

  • Reply
    Sandy Carlson (USA)
    September 28, 2012 at 8:35 pm

    You have me smiling here. It’s fascinating stuff being able to trace the family line through features.

  • Reply
    September 28, 2012 at 6:13 pm

    I’m the youngest of 4 redheaded kids born to a naturally platinum blonde mother and brunet father will the Huguenot brown eyes. When I was born, my maternal grandfather sent my mother a cablegram saying, “At least you were faithful to the same iceman!”
    When I was 3, we were living in Hollywood, CA, where my mother got to know a number of movie people. One of them came to visit one day when I was sitting on the front lawn. I smiled at him and he said, “Never smile with your teeth showing, they’re ugly.” Took me years before I show my teeth. My sister used to say they were braided and my brothers called me “snaggle toothed.” Ah well, I survived. Sarah

  • Reply
    September 28, 2012 at 5:16 pm

    My cousin once told me I had “big butter teeth” . Never heard it before or since.

  • Reply
    September 28, 2012 at 4:07 pm

    As you may know, my eyes are
    Carolina Blue, so are my Son-in-
    law’s. But my two daughters and
    granddaughters are all brown-eyed.
    So many Wrights and Cotherns, the
    genes just overpowered my bunch.

  • Reply
    September 28, 2012 at 2:20 pm

    Your post made me think of that Tanya Tucker song, “What’s Your Momma’s Name” and the line that said the girl’s eyes were “Wilson Green.” 🙂

  • Reply
    B. ruth
    September 28, 2012 at 1:40 pm

    and Ethelene…you have what is called a Diastema…and more than likely some relative, down the line somewhere, had one too…It used to be noted as an inherited idioscyncrasy..but other mouth/teeth progressions can cause it to.
    You are very special…A lot of very famous people have Diastemas…Do not remorse about not having braces fitted to correct it…It has been known to return in about the same time it takes to correct it as soon as the braces are removed. All that money down the drain!! If, and I hope you don’t have to, have it closed when or if you have a denture. You can have them crowned (capped) to fill in the space, but usually closing all the way was not as pleasing either and most favored still leaving a small space…However, that would not be you…
    Thanks Tipper and Ethelene for her story…I worked for 25 years as a CDA for dentists in our area..

  • Reply
    September 28, 2012 at 12:55 pm

    That story of the little boy on the school bus brought back memories of my Momma. She was a kind and gentle person (almost to a fault) but, one of her strongest admonishments to us kids was that if we said something to another child at school to cause them hurt it would be “Katie bar the door” when she found about it. It worked; we didn’t. Besides, I was (and still am) so ugly I knew if they ever got started on me it would be never ending.
    Now, I know, (like Art Linkletter used to say) “Kids can say the darndest things.” That little boy didn’t mean it, besides you turned out rather O.K.

  • Reply
    Ed Ammons
    September 28, 2012 at 12:30 pm

    You reckon maybe people’s pondering is what perpetuates the universe’s problems and that less problem pondering and more podal perusal might promote perpetual peace.

  • Reply
    September 28, 2012 at 11:35 am

    Sometimes it’s good to focus on things like whose feet someone has. Life in the mountains permits you to do that.

  • Reply
    Ed Ammons
    September 28, 2012 at 11:34 am

    Seems we never forgive what other kids did to us, but when it comes to what we did to other kids it was just “kids being kids.”
    I remember a kid in school that was “slow.” Everybody in class, including me, convinced him that he was wearing a cap when he wasn’t. We all commented on it and complimented him on it until he either thought he had a cap on or just when along with us to get us off his back. When he actually wore a cap, we would ask him why the didn’t. I don’t remember his name. I wish could. I would call or write him and apologize today. If any of you fine Swain County kids remember or participated in this incident and remember his name, please let me know.
    We called him Duck. When we passed him in the hall, we would say “Hey Duck” and he would make quacking sounds. We would say “put your cap on Duck” if he had one on or “take your cap off Duck” if he didn’t. He would go through the motions of doing what we asked. The more I think about it the more ashamed of myself I become so I’d better shut up before I have to start taking Prozac or something.
    Thanks for listening to my confession, Tipper!

  • Reply
    Kerry in GA
    September 28, 2012 at 11:20 am

    I got my thick, wavy/curly wire brush hair from my Daddy’s people. Then I got my Green eyes from my Momma’s side, which is a good thing. I hope people notice them more than they do my mop. 🙂

  • Reply
    dolores barton
    September 28, 2012 at 11:19 am

    I never had braces; we couldn’t afford them when I was young. I think my teeth are just teeth, but I have soft teeth which are a problem as one ages. Now feet, well, mine aren’t big, but they are wide. I have not idea where they came from. I guess I have to agree with Forrest Gump – Life is like a box of chocolate, you don’t know what you’re going to get until you take one (somewhat paraphrased. Genes are genes – modern ones or way back when ones. Oh, well!

  • Reply
    September 28, 2012 at 11:09 am

    I have a nose that gets passed down…it’s not too big or ugly but it has a bump that seems to be common in the family…it never bothered me as it isn’t bad but def a family trait

  • Reply
    Lonnie Dockery
    September 28, 2012 at 9:59 am

    This post made me laugh too–but maybe not for the same reasons. I certainly never thought of you having big teeth! I really don’t pay much attention to other people’s physical abnormalities. Maybe that comes from having so many of my own-and not caring at all what people think about them!Just keep pondering Chitter’s feet. You are probably just as able to affect them as we are the problems of the universe. And…I hope you hid the body of that little boy really, really well.

  • Reply
    September 28, 2012 at 9:40 am

    My dear Tipper—be thee so thankful to have that wonderful set of teeth from the Wilson’s for in the Shope family we all had very soft teeth so although we practiced good dental practices we spent much time in the dentist chair and some have even lost there teeth—-I was so thankful neither of my children got those genes and got the teeth of their father—-so lucky you and your gals—you all have a pretty set of choppers.

  • Reply
    September 28, 2012 at 9:38 am

    Ever hear the saying that a child looks like a parent, chewed up and spit out? I’ve heard that all through life about me and Daddy. I think from your photos that the saying applies to you and your girls as well.

  • Reply
    Richard Moore
    September 28, 2012 at 9:28 am

    I had an overbite as a kid. A lot of people called it “buck teeth.” My father, not a sensitive soul in such matters, referred to folks with an overbite as having a “squirrel mouth.”
    My favorite of his was “looks like a mule eating briars.” That was instantly understandable in rural Georgia in the 1950s when mules were fairly common.
    My mother, as in most things, was proactive on anything about her kids. She took me to an orthodontist in Atlanta–which was quite a trek to make every month for more than two years.
    I loved the trips to Atlanta when I could restock on comic books and then I discovered used book stores within walking distance of the orthodontist. That turned out to be a life-changing event.
    But it was fresh hell in school for those years as I was the only kid in my small elementary school with braces and boy did I get new taunts. “Why you got a mouth full of wire? What happened, did you swallow a fence?”
    But I was done with braces by high school and have always been grateful to my mother for taking action.

  • Reply
    September 28, 2012 at 9:17 am

    People have never fully decided who I look like the most. I grabbed parts from everywhere and somehow they fit pretty well together. The one thing they all agree on is my Daddy’s black eyes. When I was 6 years old, we stopped once at a country store on the way home from the beach, for gas and to get a cool drink. That day I just happened to have all of my white-blonde hair stuffed up under a hat to keep extra cool – there was no air conditioning back then. As soon as the owner saw me he told me to go around back and was very angry in his tone of voice. I just stood there frozen and when he started to come around the counter to make me get out, my Dad, who had heard the man, walked in and said, “This one is mine”, as he lifted my hat off and let my long blonde hair fall down to my waist. From then on I knew that my little button nose looked more like a black persons than a white persons. It did not hurt that I was literally as brown as a Brazil nut from swimming and playing all summer, but I knew what it was like to feel the wrath of prejudice from an early age. BTW my nose is as French as my Huguenot eyes. 🙂

  • Reply
    September 28, 2012 at 9:14 am

    All my siblings took after Dad’s family when it comes to teeth…except me. I never thought mine were as straight and pretty as theirs. I got my blonde and wavy hair from him while the others got more of Mom’s Cherokee features.
    I think your teeth are beautiful.

  • Reply
    Ethelene Jones
    September 28, 2012 at 8:51 am

    Tipper, About teeth, with smiles like the picture shows, I think neither you nor the twins has cause to regret your chompers! Both beautiful smiles! I must admit, though, that I “notice” teeth! I have a distinct “space” in the very middle of my upper teeth! My space caused me a lot of teasing and ridicule when I was young, and I became self-conscious of my “spacy” smile! But somehow I braved the teasing and smiled anyway, because I’m sort of a naturally optimistic, smiling person! Why didn’t I get braces? I lived out in the country and a long time before any dentists we visited ever thought of referring someone to an orthodontist! (In other words, we didn’t know such a thing as braces existed back then!) And when I got all grown up, I wasn’t teased as much about my tooth-spaces, so I didn’t get them braced up on my own (couldn’t afford it, either!). But in trying to “figure out” where I got my space between my two front teeth, I was always left out in the cold, too, because no one in my family we knew had that characteristic! It’s sort of hard to be the “odd one out”, too–with a characteristic no one in your family but you has–like Chitter’s feet! But, despite the teasing (and sometimes ridicule–for my Aunt Nancy told my father, “You’ve GOT to do something about Ethelene’s teeth? But what could he do?? Her comment really made me feel self-conscious!). But we can come to terms with even our “bad” points if we really determine that there are more important things in life than majoring on minors. Today, I sort of like my teeth! At least they “all mine”–even at my age! And they serve me well!

  • Reply
    B. ruth
    September 28, 2012 at 8:39 am

    Sorry, I mean’t to write Chitter’s feet…Oh, well you knew what I meant….
    Anyhow I got my “Scatterbrain” from a great Aunt that rocked on the porch…literally!…rocked and rocked and rocked!
    Thanks Tipper,

  • Reply
    Miss Cindy
    September 28, 2012 at 8:31 am

    Tipper, I have never noticed you to have big teeth. I’ll have to look more closely next weekend when I come for the Fall Festival at the Folk School.
    Yes I agree about how we can see characteristics in family members. I get a lot from my dad….my small bones, my height comes from his side of the family. The Deer Hunter has these same characteristics and so does Chatter. The girls both got your beautiful brown eyes.
    We also get temperamental traits from family. For example you and I don’t have to look far to know where Chatter’s stubborn streak comes from….might be just a tad of the Deer Hunter there….and we won’t even talk about where he gets is, ok?
    As for Chitter’s feet, I’ll have to look at them again but I’m thinking it could be my mom.

  • Reply
    September 28, 2012 at 8:31 am

    I love looking at my family and trying to figure out who they take after. I have no idea where I got my straight teeth. No one else from any side had good teeth. I do have my mom’s squinty Irish eyes. My brother thinks I’m dumb to look for familiar things. I think it’s comforting that some trait from some family memeber has been passed down. I like your “Wilson” teeth.

  • Reply
    Mary Shipman
    September 28, 2012 at 7:41 am

    I remeber at about age 5 being told I had ‘hazel’ eyes. I was absolutley terrified that my Aunt Hazel had gone blind so I could have her eyes.

  • Reply
    Ed Ammons
    September 28, 2012 at 7:40 am

    Well, poor little Tipper. So you have big teeth. So kids say you look like a wabbit. At least you can keep your mouth shut. Consider my plight! I look like a wabbit too when I eat. Not because of my teeth but because my ears wiggle when I chew. I used to look around to make sure nobody was looking before I chewed my food. Needless to say I swallowed a lot of food whole.
    I think you have a beautiful smile and both your daughters do too. To me Chitter and Chatter look alike and a lot like their Mamma.

  • Reply
    Mary Shipman
    September 28, 2012 at 7:39 am

    LOL, Hubby has Mr. Spock’s pointy ears from Star Trek fame.
    Not sure where those came from either. 🙂

  • Reply
    September 28, 2012 at 7:30 am

    Your teeth are beautiful Tipper! I have bigger teeth too, also straight and nicely aligned like yours.
    I got my teeth and eyes from Mom. Both of my children and all three of my grandchildren got Mom’s eyes too, but I’m the only one who got the teeth!
    A body can only ponder the problems of the universe for so long, and who’s to say it isn’t just as important to know a little something about the people who came before and left us these marvelous parts!

  • Reply
    Specual Ed.pdf
    September 28, 2012 at 7:14 am

    I had me a set of chompers lik urin but the old woman barried them fer her famley reunyun an never brungem back. When I come to yore house over Crismess can I use yorn ater yore dun. I promus Ill cleanem good for I givem back.

  • Reply
    Sheryl Paul
    September 28, 2012 at 6:25 am

    We do the same thing in our family, it makes for an interesting family reunion.

  • Reply
    B. ruth
    September 28, 2012 at 5:42 am

    Chatters feet…Think of all the times Chatters feet have come in handy…A walk barefoot in the dirt and grass, holders for boots, dancing feet, climbing hills and going back and forth to Grannys…and most of all…
    To keep her from Tipping the Tipper we know..
    Love ya,
    Thanks Tipper,
    PS…She must have special feet for some reason, maybe not even known yet…

  • Reply
    B. ruth
    September 28, 2012 at 5:27 am

    I think you have beautiful teeth as well as your daughters..
    I would say back when you were a child riding that school bus, that boy had afew toothie problems hisownself…because that would be the time of facial growing and permanant teeth coming in…Once everything gets lined up and facial bones grow, alot of folks don’t need braces..unless some crowding takes place..
    Your overbite doesn’t look abnormal to me…like a rabbit???
    I say better to have teeth than no teeth…Could you imagine having itsy-bitsy teeth and the same facial features and bone structure! I think God knew what he was doing…You look like Tipper to me and any other way it wouldn’t be you…
    No worries,
    Thanks Tipper, “Forget about it”
    Wonder what that little boys teeth look like today?

  • Reply
    Stephen Ammons
    September 28, 2012 at 4:47 am

    What I am seeing in the photo is two very pretty smiles. I wouldn’t have even noticed if I hadn’t read the post first. As for me I have summer teeth. Summer in my mouth and summer in a cup soaking.LOL
    So what is up with Chatters feet? Are they so big that the forest service wants to give her a job stomping out forest fire or so small it is surprising that she can even balance on them. Got me curious now. Anyways have a great day. 🙂

  • Reply
    Gorges Smythe
    September 28, 2012 at 4:21 am

    As long as they don’t look like the mailman’s, you’re okay! 😉

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