Children of the Cumberland

Children of the Cumberland

Children of the Cumberland

Children of the Cumberland

Excerpt

This is a book about a group of children in the Southern mountains. I am not writing about them because I think that they are unique in every way. I have known other children much like them in other parts of our country. In fact, I am sure that I and many of my playmates were like them in some ways when we were children in Oregon, and my mother would probably recognize them as even more strongly resembling the children she knew when she was growing up in a small town in New York.

These mountain children, Scotch and English, are the sons and daughters of men who were once coal miners and lumbermen. Their homes are the one- or two-room cabins that their grandfathers built, still without electricity, without plumbing. Here is one where grandmother is still the matriarch of the family. Here is another where live not only father, mother, and seven children, but the married daughter, her husband and baby as well. The oldest generation remembers the days when "my precious mother used to weave every inch of the cloth we used, and made the thread too." Clothing comes from Sears Roebuck nowadays, but families do still make their own quilts, kill their own hogs, and the cycle of birth and death goes on there in the house.

Small babies are seldom out of their mothers' arms, and are nursed whenever they cry. Often they are not weaned until they are well along in their second year. Children are always to be seen with their parents at buryings, at P.T.A. meetings, at square dances. They are never left at home or put to bed early. Parents do not seem to expect their children to live on a schedule that differs very much from their own. Meals are the same for all members of the family, and even the youngest baby may have some of the chocolate pie if he wants it. Children live a life very close to . . .

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