Appalachia Pap

The Smoky Little House

Appalachia Homeplace

When Pap was a boy his neighbors played a huge role in the way he was brought up. His parents moved around the general area of Brasstown quite a bit. Over the years he entertained us with stories of various neighbors he knew when his family lived here in Wilson Holler, in Pine Log, over on Harshaw, or anywhere in between.

One neighbor came up often in the stories because he was a real character. When I was a small child Pap took me to see the remains of the old homeplace where the man lived when Pap was a boy.

The gentleman had always lived by himself until he sent off for what Pap called a mail order bride. The man found the woman somehow, maybe in the classifieds, and began a long distance relationship by mail.

One of the reasons Pap was privy to the details of the love affair was due to the fact that the man couldn’t read and had to bring the letters to Pap’s family or other neighbors for them to read to him and to help him reply to the lady.

Pap said after a while the two got married and she came to live with him. She stayed about six years and suddenly left.

After a period of time went by the man brought another letter for Pap’s family to read.

Pap said he knew the situation wasn’t funny for the couple, but as a young boy he found it humorous when the lady wrote “I’m through with you and your smoky little house. I’m almost so blind I can’t even write this letter from living in it.”

You can imagine, in the days of no tv and not even many radios around, the goings on of neighbors was big doings.


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  • Reply
    Garland Davis
    June 24, 2021 at 11:47 am

    I know a number of old sailors who have “imported” brides from the Philippines, Laos, Malaysia, Vietnam, and Thailand!

  • Reply
    Donald Wells
    June 24, 2021 at 11:24 am

    If he had cleaned his chimney out,he could have still been happily married. Tipper you were talking about how often Pap moved when a young boy,made me think of my Great Uncle Frank, said he moved ever time the rent come due.

  • Reply
    Kathy Riley
    June 24, 2021 at 9:56 am

    I enjoy your posts so much. Thank you for taking the time and committ to share with us.

  • Reply
    June 24, 2021 at 9:12 am

    Mail order brides are still alive and well today. Technology makes it a lot easier to get to know that person before they actually meet. When I was a realtor years ago, I had a client who introduced me to his beautiful girlfriend from Switzerland. He told me he met her through some sort of magazine offering mail order brides. He didn’t say it in a joking manner and she didn’t deny it.

  • Reply
    June 24, 2021 at 8:54 am

    Poor ol feller. Now, ain’t that a shame?

  • Reply
    June 24, 2021 at 8:40 am

    Great story, don’t hear much about mail,order brides these days. I think,they still exist from third world countries.

  • Reply
    Margie G
    June 24, 2021 at 8:31 am

    If you ask me, mail order brides haven’t changed in all these years. If they could find a man on their own, they wouldn’t need to get one by mail so buyer beware of severely damaged and crazy goods! When it got tough the scoundrel ran out laying all the blame on the husband who plainly fell short of her BIG expectations. I find it ironically poignant that she herself was wonderful and the blame of failure fell on Pap’s friend. Anyway, there’s lots worse than being alone like living with a devil in bloomers she was!!!! Just my take on it and most of what I see. Lol

  • Reply
    Ron Stephens
    June 24, 2021 at 8:25 am

    That story reminds me of “Sarah Plain and Tall” except it turned out better. It also reminds me of how when people cooked with a wood-burning range everything in the house smelled a little smoky. Couldn’t help letting smoke out because the stove ‘eye’ had to come out to add wood. Of course when you were used to it you never smelled it or never realized how strong the smell was to those who didn’t have a wood cookstove. Maybe that is another reason I like Grandpa’s Pine Tar soap because we had a wood cookstove for much of my childhood. Other experiences in later life just added to that.

  • Reply
    Miss Cindy
    June 24, 2021 at 7:27 am

    Big doings indeed! That life seems so primative to me, can’t imagine no power. It makes me wonder….things have changed so since then, so…what does the future hold. Gas cars will certainly be gone, computers and TV will certainly blend together as one (it’s already started), food will be manufactured instead of grown ( that is also already started)…it all seems scarey to me! I don’t even want to think about it.

    • Reply
      Ed Ammons
      June 24, 2021 at 5:46 pm

      Guess what else is going to be gone Miss Cindy! You and Me!

      • Reply
        Miss Cindy
        June 25, 2021 at 6:58 am

        Yep, we are!

  • Reply
    Sandra Harrison
    June 24, 2021 at 7:20 am

    That was a great story. I love the house pic too.

  • Reply
    Kate Burk
    June 24, 2021 at 6:20 am

    Just a general comment steming from your short bio. If we don’t share our memories, how in the world are folks ever going to know?
    Thing is, my own brain contains so much that few can hardly conceive of such a world. Sad part is most are so caught up in the dirt, they don’t think about looking up

    • Reply
      Margie G
      June 24, 2021 at 8:34 am

      Write it and share it and they will come….. just like the BP& A which gets us interested every time!!!

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