Appalachia Christmas

Over the Mountain for Christmas


“A old Packard was our wagon. The biggest overstretched socks that we could find to take with us. Mom packed a few simple presents for our Grandparents…a couple of quilts, thermos and food just in case we got stuck in the snow, on the mountain, between Knoxville and Western NC….It was a real adventure, making that trip at Christmas. We (Dad) had to carry with us some “special permits” to leave and to get back in to our new home place. That old Secret City…where Dad and Mom had settled after leaving their mountain homes for a new job and a different life in what seemed back then a big city! That day we were on our way back to the mountains…As we finally got out of the checkpoint at Elsa gate….Dad burst into “Jingle Bells” and Mother nearly laughed all the way…only stopping to scold us since we always bickered over the very small Packard windows in the back seat.”

B.Ruth – December 2015



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  • Reply
    December 20, 2018 at 1:12 am

    Yes, I share some of these memories of Oak Ridge with my sister Sherry, but I must comment that I now live in Sequatchie County and have not run into anything resembling mutant creatures- Thanks to Ed A. for the heads up!
    I so love your post, B. Ruth 😉

  • Reply
    betty stephenson
    December 19, 2018 at 2:25 pm

    hi have a great christmas

  • Reply
    aw griff
    December 19, 2018 at 11:46 am

    B Ruth’s story made me think of the little red wagon my brother and I got for Christmas when I was only 5 and my brother was 4 years old. We were going across a huge hill in Dad’s 1938 Pontiac. well, I think it was a 1938 Pontiac with big running boards. Somehow I knew there was a present in the trunk and was trying to find out what is was. No such luck. I feel like I could take you to the exact spot where we got to asking about our present. Just as we topped out the hill, I think. This remains one of my strongest memories of Christmas as a child. Oh, the things we did with the wagon and the things we did to the wagon.

  • Reply
    December 19, 2018 at 10:40 am

    Wow what a story! Thank you Tipper for sharing it with us. And every thing you do and share with us. God Bless !

  • Reply
    December 19, 2018 at 10:06 am

    Love that story Tipper.

  • Reply
    Ed Ammons
    December 19, 2018 at 9:22 am

    They can’t fool me! The goings on at the “Secret City” are still going on. Why just the other day there was an “earthquake” at Decatur just a few miles south of there. “Earthquake, ha” We all know what is still going on there! We all know what the Gate guards were checking for. Escaping mutants!

    Look at the two towns on the map then look a little farther south and west on the map. Sequatchie County! The original home of the Sasquatch? Yes folks, there it is, hidden in plain sight. That’s is where they first put all their horrible mistakes from the “Secret City” but many of them have escaped from there too and have spread all over the world.

    Do you think I believe any of this? Not hardly! But it is fun thinking about it and messing with people’s heads.

  • Reply
    harry adams
    December 19, 2018 at 8:29 am

    Love to hear more stories of the Oak Ridge days. I lived in Aiken, Sc where Savannah River Plant was built after WWII. I heard all kinds of stories about it. How they moved whole towns including cemeteries to keep people out and how polluted the place is today. In my home when I was growing up people would talk about so and so had a job at the bomb plant.

  • Reply
    Ron Stephens
    December 19, 2018 at 7:51 am

    I was in Oak Ridge, TN at Thanksgiving and we stayed in one of the old WWII era houses. It was only then that I found out it required a pass to go into Oak Ridge until 1948. It seems so strange but is just a tighter security version of going on a military base now.

    I can imagine that a Knoxville to say Asheville trip in the 1940’s was a far cry from conditions now. Roads would have been narrower, more crooked, lots more gravel surface, steeper grades, narrower bridges, etc. I expect the major roads then were about like county roads now. Too bad we don’t know the routes through the years, from buffalo trails and warpaths through wagon roads then stage roads to cars. Much of the roads we know only came into being after WWII.

  • Reply
    Sherry Whitaker
    December 19, 2018 at 7:21 am

    And what happy memories your Christmas story stirred in me, B. Ruth! Memories of several white Christmases there in the hills of Oak Ridge, Tennessee. Remembering going through Elsa Gate, having to stop as guards checked all of us in and out of the Secret City. My Daddy helped build Jackson Square & later worked for years for Union Carbide. Every year that company gave a huge Christmas party held in the high school auditorium for all us children …with Santa and huge Christmas stockings for each of us. Wow! Thanks for stirring up the memory. And thank you Tipper for the Blind Pig and the blessing of winning books ! I received my Snowbird Gravy and Dishpan Pie & cannot wait to read it. Merry Christmas.

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