Academic journal article The Journal of Southern History

Creeker: A Woman's Journey

Academic journal article The Journal of Southern History

Creeker: A Woman's Journey

Article excerpt

Creeker: A Woman's Journey. By Linda Scott DeRosier. Women in Southern Culture. (Lexington: University Press of Kentucky, c. 1999. Pp. xviii, 228. $27.50, ISBN 0-8131-2123-X.)

Linda Sue (Lee) Preston Scott DeRosier's honest, penetrating, and colorful look at her rural Appalachian upbringing and its influence illuminates not only a corner of the South but a substantial part of American women's experience. For its sheer power to take the reader inside a complex web of culture and identity, Creeker stands alongside such fine works as Shirley Abbott's Womenfolks: Growing Up Down South (New Haven, Conn.: Ticknor & Fields, 1983), Cathy Davidson's 36 Views of Mount Fuji: On Finding Myself in Japan (New York: Plume, 1993), and Bobbie Ann Mason's Clear Springs: A Memoir (New York: Random House, 1999).

DeRosier goes beyond stereotypes to reveal the multidimensional world into which she was born in 1941. To those who would lump together all Appalachian residents, she immediately explains the town-versus-country dichotomy in the eastern Kentucky hills, a split that manifested itself in many ways, even in a popular cheer at the town school, Paintsville High: "Two bits, four bits, six bits, a dollar; Send those creekers back up the holler!" (p. vii). The townspeople seemed as foreign to their rural neighbors as strangers from hundreds of miles away. DeRosier realized the differences more acutely after she married "up" and moved to "town." Her husband played golf at the country club as she sat poolside with other golf widows and their children--worlds away from the country life of slopping pigs and carrying water to the house.

DeRosier ties her own story into the larger narrative of the female experience in postwar America. Her willowy thin body disadvantaged her in an age when roundness was prized in women. Growing up in the 1950s, she envisioned marriage and family as her only destiny, and early on, she chose specific names for the four children she planned to have. But she became a working mother (of one son) in the 1960s, when she took a position with the Social Security Administration. …

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