Appalachia Overheard



“At one time in history this area had more jobs than it knew what to do with. Really, it was the mecca of job employment for the country during the time when TVA lakes were being built. Granted, a lot of jobs were digging ditches and pushing wheel barrels but they were still jobs. Most of the high wage earning positions were filled by people who were brought in from other parts of the country. We want to see that kind of economic explosion in western North Carolina again, but this time, we want to make sure our people are the folks in the high paying positions not the ones digging the ditches. With education we can prepare our local people for any industry that decides to come in here and set up camp.”



Overheard: snippets of conversation I overhear in Southern Appalachia

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  • Reply
    Suzi Phillips
    May 23, 2014 at 11:00 pm

    Absolutely agree-BUT the people of Appalachia have got to make sure that the industries setting up camp reinvest in the community. I’ve seen too many ghost towns in these mountains-big corporations coming in and taking all the resources and the profits; leaving and taking all the jobs, too. Mountain folks are harding working, smart people and we deserve better! Excuse me while I climb down from my soap box…

  • Reply
    May 23, 2014 at 10:51 pm

    Use to be this way most anywhere in the US. Not anymore, and anymore a good education is no guarantee either. I have many friends with college/university degrees even Master’s Degrees, who got laid off October 2008 like I did who are still looking for work, and they’re software engineers and managers. Now if THEY can’t get a job, well…it just makes you wonder who can then, doesn’t it.
    God bless.

  • Reply
    Ed Ammons
    May 23, 2014 at 7:00 pm

    I am afraid that as we educate our native people, they will go to the jobs rather than wait for the jobs to come to them. And if they get the better paying jobs, where will the ditch diggers and wheelbarrow pushers come from? What kind of culture will they bring to dilute ours? This is the definition of a dilemma!

  • Reply
    Eva Nell Mull Wike, PhD
    May 23, 2014 at 6:59 pm

    Hey Tipper: I may be ‘disconnect’ as our computer is down. But your topic of the day ‘rings’ true for me. I was one of the girls in the Matheson Cove who went to Ohio with a birth certificate indicating I was 18 year old. When I came back to the Cove, I was 16 years old and had SIX HUNDRED DOLLARS IN MY POCKET! Eva Nell

  • Reply
    Ken Roper
    May 23, 2014 at 4:48 pm

    I done sent in one comment today, but
    it must a got stuck in the “cloud.”
    Anyway, I agree with what you said.

  • Reply
    Ken Roper
    May 23, 2014 at 2:10 pm

    Amen, to all you said. Also, our whole
    country is in about the same shape when
    it comes to jobs. Our leaders need to
    stop thinking so much globally, and
    put America first…Ken

  • Reply
    Miahumble Opinion
    May 23, 2014 at 9:44 am

    the difference, back in the 40’s people were willing to work, they were used to it to surrive, dig the ditch, roll the wheel barrow…plant the garden…err, I digress…
    Thank goodness we had hard working Appalachian people that knew what hard work meant in the future, for their children!
    That’s All Folks!

  • Reply
    May 23, 2014 at 9:23 am

    How true – for any location – but someone still has to dig the ditches and push the wheelbarrows . . . .
    The best bosses also know how to “hoe a good row” and will get down on their knees and scrub the floors with their employees.

  • Reply
    Miahumble Opinion
    May 23, 2014 at 9:22 am

    I agree…
    except someone will always have to dig the ditch!
    There are just so many people you can hire to read the blueprints, figure the cost, and supervise the building! In other words, “too many cooks, spoil the soup!”…
    Now-a-days it is hard to find someone to do, as they say, the “grunt work”! Even if educated and the paycheck is raised!
    In this country there’s not many workers that are willing to start digging the ditch, then reading the blueprint and then overseeing the construction.
    Too many want to start out at the top!
    Thanks Tipper,

  • Reply
    Roy Pipes
    May 23, 2014 at 8:52 am

    When I graduated from High School in 1955 you couldn’t (as they say) buy a job. My classmates went to Atlanta, Ohio, Detroit, Gastonia plus other locations. I joined the Navy – some went to college, but very few found jobs at home. I agree with you that we need to train our people for these high paying positions.
    Tri-County Community College plus our public schools are making this possible.

  • Reply
    Ethelene Dyer Jones
    May 23, 2014 at 8:45 am

    We (meaning the people of Appalachia) have been the butt of criticism, jokes and even mistreatment. People from “outside” mistake our simple ways with ignorance and lack of discernment. Can you believe that at one time the community in Appalachia where I grew up–my beloved “Choestoe” in Union County, GA, had the highest percentage of college graduates percapita than any other comparable are of the country?

  • Reply
    May 23, 2014 at 7:56 am

    That is so true! Education and willingness to work keeps one independent and gives inner peace and self pride!

  • Reply
    Sheryl Paul
    May 23, 2014 at 7:41 am

    Employment is necessary, but take care the way of life that you love so much is not exploited by others

  • Reply
    Mike McLain
    May 23, 2014 at 7:39 am

    I think the education gets your foot in the door and gives you a chance to prove your worth. BUT once in the door, a strong work ethic is the ultimate worth. Education prepares you for the work, but in my career (retired last year), I observed people with degrees from prestigious schools who failed because they didn’t produce.
    I think that the people of Appalachia have a history of a strong work ethic and that, combined with education, is a strong selling point.

  • Reply
    May 23, 2014 at 7:26 am

    Yea TVA has brought a lot of jobs to our area of the country over the years but that seems to be slipping, the Shoals was a haven for TVA development and research, it was called the TVA Reservation but it looks like a Ghost Town now buildings are empty, not a lot going on, they just recently laid off most of their Police force, sad, I’ve even read where the government has looked into selling it. Cut backs around here have been huge, but the steel mills, chemical plants and aerospace, defense is booming, and just recently Jack Daniels came to town and is building their barrels here now and also Remington is going into Huntsville,, so where we lack in an area we’ve picked up a good deal in another…

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