Sunday, February 26, 2017
Like most small children, I learned my home address so that if I got lost, I could tell a grown-up where to take me. In kindergarten, when the teacher asked me where I lived, I could recite the address without skipping a beat, even though my mother changed addresses frequently, for reasons I never understood as a child. Still, I always distinguished "my address" from "my home." My address was where I spent most of my time with my mother and sister, wherever that might be. But my home never changed: my great-grandmother's house, in the holler, in Jackson, Kentucky.
Jackson is a small town of about six thousand in the heart of southeastern Kentucky's coal country. Calling it a town is a bit charitable: There's a courthouse, a few restaurants - almost all of them fast-food chains - and a few other shops and stores. Most of the people live in the mountains surrounding Kentucky Highway 15, in trailer parks, in government-subsidized housing, in small farmhouses, and in mountain homesteads like the one that served as the backdrop for the fondest memories of my childhood.
J. D. Vance, Hillbilly Elegy: A Memoir of a Family and Culture in Crisis