...with a husband and 5 sons, I am truly outnumbered....stories and thoughts on life from a mom in a houseful of little men!

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Land of Christy: day 25

I began ordering the discs from Netflix last spring.  I'd heard of the Christy series before, but as our plans to adventure South began to take shape, the story became more appealing to me.  Based on the classic novel by Catherine Marshall, I have found the made-for-tv series to be quite accurate.
The television series was filmed just a few minutes from us, in Townsend, and in Cades Cove of The Great Smoky Mountains National Park.
I didn't realize until recently, however, that the novel was written based upon actual events.  The real Christy was a woman named Leonora Whitaker, the mother of the author.  She left her home in Hendersonville, NC as a young, single woman in order to teach impoverished children in the Appalachians.  You can visit the Mission site where this took place, a bit north from here in East Tennessee in Cocke County. 

I absolutely love history, and greatly enjoy historical fiction.  Both the book and t.v. series shed light upon life here at the turn of the 20th century--folk traditions, medicine, and superstition, as well as cultural issues such as moonshining and family feuding.  The author had definitely done her homework, studying the regional culture and history by searching through records and interviewing previous students of her mother. 

Reading this book, watching the series, and visiting other historical sites from this era has opened up an entire book of history for me that I had never delved into.  Having lived in the harshness of Alaska for so long, I had unknowingly and essentially played down the hardships that people faced while pioneering here in the Appalachians.  It appears so mild here compared to what I'm used to.  However, what I am learning, is that in reality, life here was very laborious and challenging.  Arduous really.

I am also learning that some folks take their Christy very seriously.  There is actually an entire festival devoted to this classic tale, called ChristyFest.  Many cast members, writers, and other crew attend this festival, and there are mountain crafts demonstrations, and storytelling.  It sounds like it's a big celebration of southern mountain culture and history.  I'm not sure if I'll get an opportunity to attend, but if I do, I'm pretty sure it'll be something to love.

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