Thats a pretty important point there. Its trendy now to hate on coal but at the same time we gotta be able to respect what you pointed out and how the good came with the bad.
My grandfather used to tell me about that when I was a little boy visiting him here in WV. Now that I’m going through my own father’s stuff after his passing, I’m setting aside all the WV history books and local music CDs to ship back to Japan.
West Virginia kind of forces you to see it, doesn’t it? You can drive over a ridgeline and move from breathtaking natural beauty to gruesomely ugly despoilation in an instant, the state is just full of transitions and superimposed opposites in every way. I very much like WVA, and the culture there, while understanding that many of her people and places have suffered from lack of educational and economic opportunities, and from ruthless exploitation of people and resources.
I’m sorry to hear of your father’s death; I lost my own two years ago. It’s nice to hear you’re preserving his stuff, though, and if your experience is anything like it was for me, there will be a sad sweetness to reading it all, ultimately worthwhile.
My father was the first in our family to go to college much less get a PHD but as they say “book smarts aint everything”. Plenty of people here who just applied their natural brain talent to solving problems or making things better. My grandfather was one of them. Self taught on lots of things and involved in local and state politics out of a sense of genuine community service. Cant be too specific without doxing myself here.
You know what else I like here? Even people who don’t seem to have jack squat in hand or in their potential future seem to be really eager to help out their neighbors. Lots of honestly good folk. Unfortunately though meth has taken its toll on the area as well.
Thank you. He lost most of the memorabilia to hurricane Katrina which was what made him move back to his hometown in WV. He seemed to have made a point not to accumulate too much after that, but as you say its a sad sweetness going through what there is.
As per his way of living, what isn’t a memento to me, I’m giving away as much of his stuff to local charity.