Excerpt from Creeker by Linda Scott DeRosier, plus links to reviews, author biography & more

Summary |  Excerpt |  Reviews |  Readalikes |  Genres & Themes |  Author Bio

Creeker

A Woman's Journey

by Linda Scott DeRosier

Creeker by Linda Scott DeRosier
  • Critics' Opinion:

    Readers' Opinion:

  • First Published:
    Oct 1999, 272 pages
    Paperback:
    Jul 2002, 272 pages

  • Rate this book


Buy This Book

About this Book

Print Excerpt

Chapter One: My Place

Mine was not the Kentucky of bluegrass, juleps, and cotillions; the Kentucky of my youth was one of coal banks, crawdads, and country music. I grew up in the Appalachian Mountains of eastern Kentucky between the small towns of Paintsville and Inez in a place called Two-Mile Creek. This is my postcard from Appalachia written from the beginning of the "Big War" through the "Age of Aquarius" and running headlong, as quickly as all my baggage will allow, into the twenty-first century.

I was born February 20, 1941, on a feather bed in the upper room of my Grandma Emmy's log house on the left-hand fork of Greasy Creek in what is now Boons Camp, Kentucky. The small birthing room was heated by a coal fire, illuminated by coal oil lamps, and permeated by the aroma of cured hams hanging above the bed. Dr. Frank Picklesimer drove the fifteen or so miles from Paintsville over winding dirt roads to deliver what he judged to be about four pounds of Linda Sue Preston. At that time it was considered unusual for a doctor to be in attendance to deliver a child in families of our circumstance; but my mother was sickly, and it was thought that one of us might well not make it through the experience.

My daddy's name was Life; my momma's name was Grace. Who could ask for a more auspicious beginning? Daddy worked in the coal mines. We bred Hampshire hogs--those are the big black ones with a white stripe around their midsection--and raised most of our food on a couple of acres that Grandma Emmy Mollette owned. We got electric lights when I was in the second grade; indoor plumbing came considerably later. I come from a rural community in deep eastern Kentucky, and I am one of those who went away and stayed--but I never got away, not really.

I am not only from Appalachia; I am of Appalachia. My attitudes and behaviors were shaped by having grown up in that family, in that place, and in that time. Although I left home at age seventeen, my definition of what community means as well as my expectations of myself and others were formed very early in my history within my extended family. To this day, all I know of relationship is grounded in eastern Kentucky and in my sense of belonging there. On Two-Mile Creek and around on Greasy, everybody I saw or knew was in some way related to me, if not by blood then by kinship born over many generations of living together and surviving on land not famous for its generosity.

I want, at the outset, to differentiate between those Appalachians who grow up in the towns and those from rural areas--the creeks and the hollers. We tend to be lumped together by outsiders: demographers, bureaucrats who fund social programs, and academics who study the region. I would suggest to you that there is as much cultural difference between rural Appalachians and Appalachian townsfolk as between white folk and black folk who happen to live in the same city. While the difference is pervasive, it goes largely unrecognized. The prototypical hillbilly stereotype, while exaggerating the profile of rural residents, is not at all representative of those Appalachians who were brought up in the cities and small towns of that region. In terms of expectations, a woman my age born in Paintsville, Kentucky--the county seat of my home county and the nearest town to Two-Mile--would be more likely to find similarity with a cohort born in Plainville, Wisconsin, or Carthage, Alabama--or any of a thousand other little towns in the United States--than with me. This is a story from rural Appalachia, recently brought to consciousness, and reported by a creeker.

In the rural areas of my home county and the three or four counties surrounding us, I knew of no Catholics, no Jews, no African-, Greek-, Italian-, Irish-, Hispanic-, Hungarian-Americans. I also was aware of no Episcopalians and not a great many Methodists or Presbyterians. Those town religions paid their preachers, and everybody--foot-washing Baptists, all--believed that if a man got paid to do the Lord's work, he probably didn't really get the call to preach anyway.

Copyright Linda Scott Derosier. Published with the permission of the publisher, The University of Kentucky Press.

Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" backstories
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year
  • More about membership!

One-Month Free Membership

Discover your next great read here

Join Today!

Editor's Choice

  • Book Jacket
    Ghachar Ghochar
    by Vivek Shanbhag
    The Bengaluru (aka Bangalore) that has dominated economic news headlines over the past decade is the...
  • Book Jacket: Caught in the Revolution
    Caught in the Revolution
    by Helen Rappaport
    So taken were BookBrowse's First Impression reviewers by the inside look at the start of the Russian...
  • Book Jacket: Hillbilly Elegy
    Hillbilly Elegy
    by J.D. Vance
    In this illuminating memoir, Vance recounts his trajectory from growing up a "hillbilly" in ...

Book Discussion
Book Jacket
The Atomic Weight of Love
by Elizabeth J. Church

In the spirit of The Aviator's Wife, this resonant debut spans from World War II through the Vietnam War.

About the book
Join the discussion!

First Impressions

  • Book Jacket

    Our Short History
    by Lauren Grodstein

    Lauren Grodstein breaks your heart, then miraculously pieces it back together so it's stronger, than before.
    Reader Reviews

  • Book Jacket

    Lola
    by Melissa Scrivner Love

    An astonishing debut crime thriller about an unforgettable woman.
    Reader Reviews

Who Said...

Harvard is the storehouse of knowledge because the freshmen bring so much in and the graduates take so little out.

Click Here to find out who said this, as well as discovering other famous literary quotes!

Word Play

Solve this clue:

O My D B

and be entered to win..

Books that     
entertain,
     engage

 & enlighten

Visitors can view some of BookBrowse for free. Full access is for members only.

Join Today!

Your guide toexceptional          books

BookBrowse seeks out and recommends books that we believe to be best in class. Books that will whisk you to faraway places and times, that will expand your mind and challenge you -- the kinds of books you just can't wait to tell your friends about.

 
Modal popup -