In late June 1948 we loaded our few belongings onto a stakebed truck, packed into our 1934 Chevrolet, and headed for Mars Hill. We were full of confidence and excited that we were moving to a real town. Another plus for us was that we would not be far from Cherokee. With tourism booming on the reservation, we looked forward to eventually moving back to Cherokee and taking advantage of the new opportunities that were there. Shortly after we arrived in Mars Hill, Dad borrowed fifteen hundred dollars and bought Grandma Lambert’s old farm in Birdtown from Philip. Dad had plans to build a tourist gift shop on the road frontage.
When we drove into Mars Hill, I imagine us as having looked like the Joad family in John Steinbeck’s novel The Grapes of Wrath. Well, we might not have been quite as down and out as that family, but we sure were close to it. The house that Dad’s boss let us use until we could find another was located one short block west of Main Street,