Linda Preston Scott
DeRosierís memoir is a captivating journey from the close-knit community
of Two-Mile, Kentucky to the world traveling life of academia.
A pretty big leap for a girl who grew up in a hollow where the goal
for women was to marry and have children as soon as their high school
education was completed.
were unique in the community. Her
mother had flair, if not a touch for the dramatics.
Grayce Mollette taught in a one-room schoolhouse and saved her
salary to buy a car, something uncommon in those days.
As custom, she gave up her teaching career once she married.
But unlike the custom after the first child to pull your hair up in
a knot, go without make-up, and wear matronly dresses, Grayce Mollette
Preston continued to wear her hair loose, red lipstick, and shorts.
Her father worked for
the coal company like most men of the community, but he rarely went into
the mines. He was the company carpenter and was usually above ground
doing plumbing, electrical and carpentry repairs.
Considering that a minerís life was usually shortened by black
lung, the Prestons were lucky.
Family was only a
stoneís throw away, and both sides of Lindaís lineage had colorful
characters. One that stands
out is Grandma Emmy. Grandpa
Lige wasnít a prize with his drinking and womanizing, but Grandma Emmy
raised her children and cared for her husband till his death.
She didnít do this out of submission but as seeing her
responsibility through to the end. Grandma
Emmy was a very strong woman with many life lessons in catchy phrases
Linda Sue Preston was
smart as a whip but was not necessarily education-goaled.
She was leaning toward the marriage after high school path, but
ended up with a broken heart and starting college in Pikeville.
She credits the rigid formal structure of her Appalachian teachers
with giving her the skills and discipline to achieve in the college
classroom. She met Brett
Scott at college and was ready to end her education once they married, so
she could finish putting him through school.
But her husband had other ideas Ė they both would go to school.
Even after he started work, Brett encouraged his bright wife to
further her education, even if it meant they would be apart for a time.
Brett Scott was a good
husband, but did have a mistress Ė golf.
He even cut their honeymoon short so that he could participate in a
golf tournament. Linda found
herself with other young mothers at the country club pool waiting for the
husbands to come in from the 18th hole.
At this time, she became aware of wives working to remain beautiful
while their husbands cheated with young golf groupies.
Linda had come a long way from the hollow where her family had the
first flush toilet to being a golf widow at the country club.
The marriage ended as Brett and Linda moved further into separate
worlds. They remained good
friends and share the joy of their son.
Linda moved up the
academia ladder, which provided her with growth experiences.
She shared an office with intellectuals in the 1960ís, which
spurred her reading and developing a worldview.
Her background was tested by students at Kentucky State, where she
was in the minority of white professors.
As director of the Institute for Appalachia Studies at East
Tennessee State University, she was able to create programs to help her
people and educate those outside the hollows about Appalachia.
Humor runs throughout
but perhaps the funniest scenes happened at East Tennessee State
University in the budding romance of Linda Preston Scott and the
University President Arthur DeRosier.
Linda almost used some zinging phrases from Grandma Emmy to ward
off the womanizing president. But
persistence pays off for DeRosier; and after a trip to Two-Mile for her
fatherís approval, they married.
Becoming a citizen of
the world does have its drawbacks, especially when her parents became ill.
It was custom for the daughter to care for their parents by taking
over the house and seeing to all the parentís needs.
Linda and her sister had moved away, so caretakers were hired and
they traveled home as often as possible.
This period proved to be one of great personal reflection, offering
life lessons as strong as those from Grandma Emmy.
Creeker: A Womanís
Journey is the inaugural volume of the Women in Southern Culture
Creeker, examples of local color come through in the family
anecdotes, customs of religion, and language.
Linda Scott DeRosier has taken the best of Appalachia and used it
as the foundation of her lifeís journey.
Creeker is the story of many women within her family and how
their inner strength and humor made hardships into joys.
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