I have the best husband in the world! This coming Monday is our one year anniversary, but we exchanged presents last night as we are going to a family reunion in Florida later on today. He got me first edition copies of the first four Foxfire books. I had never heard of these before, but I have spent 30 minutes with them and am already in love!
The Foxfire books are all about Appalachian folklore. Foxfire was originally a magazine started by a high school English teacher and his students. The teacher assigned this project to try to get them involved in his class. The students interviewed their parents and grandparents about almost everything related to life in Appalachia. There are chapters on how to build a log house, midwifery, hog dressing, moon-shining, and tons more.
Here is an excerpt from the introductory chapter:
“If this information is to be saved at all, for whatever reason, it must be saved now; and the logical researchers are the grandchildren, not university researchers from the outside. In the process, these grandchildren (and we) gain an invaluable, unique knowledge about their own roots, heritage, and culture. Suddenly they discover their families – previously people to be ignored in the face of the seventies [when the books came out] – as pre-television, pre-automobile, pre-flight individuals who endured and survived the incredible task of total self-sufficiency, and came out of it all with a perspective on ourselves as a country that we are not likely to see again. They have something to tell us about self-reliance, human interdependence, and the human spirit that we would do well to listen to.”
Isn’t that powerful? I am sure that you will hear me tell you about these books again and again. I am already planning out my future experiments from it as I type and flip through the book at the same time. Thank you Mark for a lovely and thoughtful gift!