AUTHOR: Lois Carter Kelly

It was my fortune to be the firstborn of my mountain mother and my coal mining father. My childhood began in Tway Mining Camp, just outside Harlan, Kentucky.
Lois Carter Kelly
Lois Carter Kelly

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Book 1

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Charity's Children
It was my fortune to be the firstborn of my mountain mother and my coal mining father in an exciting time of transformation and awakening.

My childhood began in Tway Mining Camp, a small state-of-the-art coal mining camp just outside Harlan, Kentucky nestled in the great Appalachian Mountains.

My formative years were spent in "Tways." In addition to my unusual mother and talented father, I was nurtured by those who lived in "Upper Camp." They were black. They were family. N'Jenny, Tom Becker and Mz. Becker, Mary Margaret Rose Delight, Johnny Warren. I grew in "wisdom, stature and favor with God and man."

Throughout this childhood were significant currents rolling: flu epidemic, tuberculosis, spinal meningitis, mine wars and Saturday nights with whiskey and guns. Also to be dealt with were the KKK and the Communist Party. Finally, as Hamlet said, "there's a divinity that shapes our ends rough-hew them as we may."

James L. Carter was 68 years old when he died of Black Lung from long years mining. Charity, my mother who led us all with her religious committment and adage commitment that "cleanliness is next to godliness," is a 99-year-old woman living in Atlanta, Georgia.
biography memoir
biography, memoir, history

About Me

Author Portrait
My sisters, brother, and I all received our college educations. I taught English to returning veterns on the G.I. Bill in Wallins Creek, Kentucky for one year. Later, I taught English at Harlan High School for one year. I taught LoisCarterKelly taught English for a total of thirty-two years. My sister, Micki, taught elementary grades for forty years, while Norma Jo taught elementary school for a few years and finished with a career at the Perimeter College in Atlanta, Georgia. My brother Eddie is a top salesman at the Campbell Soup Company.

All four of us have been active, all with different passions. Micki has Charity's love for houses; Norma, the midus touch; Eddie, train dsplays; and me—teaching English Literature and storytelling!

The spirit and majesty of the mountains lives in our blood. We are mountain gentry, fiercely protective of the mountain accent in our speech that began with Chaucer and became fully developed in the speech of Queen Elizabeth I. It is practiced in the mountains of Kentucky, North Carolina, Virginia, West Virginia, and Tennessee to this day. I attended a summer session working toward a master's degree at the University of North Carolina. One professor worked diligently on my accent. Then I went back to Harlan; I could not "put on" in Harlan. A group of returning Korean War veterans requested that I speak "so's we ken understand ya."

Gentry is not what you own or what your bank account is. Gentry flows through your veins based on the way you were raised and how you practiced your raising.

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