Online custom professional essay writing service with academic writers.
Beautifully written article! Though I have lived here all of my life, I will never again look at our mountains and their natural beauty quite the same. And the birds, you make me long for the sounds of the birds I love to sit on my front porch and watch all spring and summer long. I really enjoyed reading this article.
Thanks Becky! Oh those birds, love them. They don’t like those bird feeders though…
Thank you so much for your story about Grundy. I too have had the feelings of the mountains that surround you and the sound of Slate Creek that soothes your soul.. God is truely present there.. I came to Grundy for the first time three years ago with my husband when we were dating. I too have lived all over the world but until I came to Grundy had I never felt the way I do about a Land or its people.. For the first time in my 53 years I found a place that I belonged and people that have truly become my family. If I live a 100 more years I am sure that I will never feel this way about anywhere else I would go… I also have so much respect and honor for the miners and mining families. I sure am thankful that the Lord placed you there and you embraced it! Susan
This article really hit home for me.I have been gone way to long from my home in the mountains, Thank You for seeing exactly what makes it my one and only home!
Enjoyed the article very much.!
You have captured my thoughts about Grundy, I was born and raised there, was heartbroken when they destroyed the town. But, I could always feel the presence of God in those mountains that I explored as a kid.
Thank you for giving me the pleasure of reading this story. It is very beautiful.
Thanks to YOU for reading and commenting, Peggy!
Quite lovely. Best description of Grundy I have ever read or heard.
Aww, you’re so kind Paula! Grundy deserves it 🙂 Glad you liked it, thanks for taking the time to comment.
Beautiful! You have expressed my experience of our new home, too. Thank you and God bless!
I’m so glad that you’ve had a similar experience, Karen! Wishing you much success with your new move.
As I read this I half way expected it to be negitive, as I read I thought this is a real compliment. Being born and raised in Buchanan County, I’ve lived in Hurley most of my 56 years, I just wanted to say thank you for seeing the real beauty in our county instead of the ugliness.
I have lived in Hurley all my life. I feel blessed to stand in my yard or go for a walk and look upon the beauty of the mountains and to hear the birds singing. As the presence of God surrounds me, I am amazed of the beauty of it all.
What a great description of the “Grundy Experience.” Kudos to you!
You so eloquently related the feelings I had in offering the explanation to my Portland, Oregon friends when I made Grundy my choice 6 years ago and when I chose to remain after law school. Thank you.
You’re welcome, and thanks, Carla!
This is so beautifully written, it made me cry. It was a good home to my daughter & son-in-law while in Law School. All of us found the beauty and confusion that you speak of
….the gorgeous mountains- the a coal truck roaring by. It is an enchanting little place that we have all loved & cursed. In the end, a lovely memory.
Those trucks right? 🙂 Thanks Deena!
Thank you for writing this! I may not live there now, but I will ALWAYS be a Grundy girl and will always be proud of my hometown and my heritage. As a former employee of ASL, I am so happy to hear your account. I spent many days defending my hometown to those students and faculty members who were experiencing “culture shock”. Once the initial shock wears off, I found that most could appreciate the area. Enjoy my hometown! I loved ASL and miss it dearly!
I have only lived here since 1995 but I loved the article and all it made me feel. Stop by the library sometime…would love to meet you. Or maybe you already have!!! 🙂
Kahy, I plan on making a trip there next week. Hopefully I see you!
I have missed you…find me I work with children at the library!
Have not lived in that area for over 40 years, this sure makes me want to return, great article .
Thank you for such a wonderful story of Grundy! I grew up there on Six and twenty Mile branch, graduated in 1984 from Grundy High School and remembered it the way it was when I left in 1986. After visiting there numerous times over the years and seeing how everything was changing, I developed a nostalgic feeling for the way it used to be. After reading your article, (written thru the eyes of a stranger), I get a whole new appreciation and even more pride in my little town of Grundy and my Heritage. Looking forward to reading more articles of Grundy thru your eyes. Thanks again!
Cheryl, just another thought! There is a book that I read many years ago written by a lady from Grundy. If you ever get a chance to read it, I think you will enjoy it. It is called, SITTING ON THE COURTHOUSE STEPS. Sorry, I can’t remember the Author. Again, thank you for a wonderful article.
It is by Lee Smith and Debbie Raines (the book). I liked the article but didn’t particularly like being called “deviant”. It makes us sound a little too much like those folks in “Deliverance”!
Thanks, Sheila! I guess we’ll see what the future holds regarding more articles…
It’s “Sitting on the Courthouse Bench” and it was an oral history project my classmates and I worked on with Ms. Raines and Lee Smith. The students interviewed townspeople to give their accounts of growing up in Grundy and what it had become. It was done before they started doing all of the construction where the Wal-Mart now sits. It was really a great project.
Lee Smith wrote Sitting on the Courthouse Steps. I share the feelings of the others. It is a refreshing change to hear the good points of Grundy highlighted instead of the bad. You really appreciate them. Thank you for that.
A beautiful summary of Grundy. This was my hometown for 20+ years. I no longer live there but I will always appreciate that I grew up in a small town, and for the country folks I had that gave me a foundation of love and respect of my upbringing. I have never forgotten how Grundy was when I was a young woman. You could walk the streets of Grundy, going from one store to another, and never see a stranger, and the sidewalks were running over with people just visiting, going shopping, etc. I have always said “you can take me out of the country but you can’t take country out of me.” I am happy that you have found it a place of peace and enjoyment.
very proud of my heritage from living my formative years in and around Grundy.
I have tried so many times to explain what the mountains mean to me, and I’ve never come as close as you have. I had to leave Southwest Virginia to find work, and I miss it so much it’s palpable. Thank you for such a beautiful article.
Excellent. I now live in the mountains again after leaving Grundy with a military man in 1976-exactly 40 years ago. So glad to be “home” again!
Thank you for the beautifully written view of our small and precious town! While attending a funeral “wake” a few years ago, I overheard a visitor express his amazement of the way we give our recently departed a farewell. I thought about his observations and realized he was right. We are one hundred years behind most of the rest of the country in that we still fill the homes of the families of the departed with food and companionship. It is a common occurrence to borrow a refrigerator in order to safely keep the overflow of food during the time of grieving for the family. I’m quite proud of this. I’m including the web site for our church in case you would like to come visit. Our next fellowship dinner will be directly after church on March 17. I’m a hostess so consider this an invitation to join us for lunch. By the way, my name is Connie Bausell. Glad to meet you!
It’s wonderful to hear someone describe Grundy in such a beautiful way. Thank you for this lovely gift Cheryl. As Connie described the funeral rituals of our area, it brought a smile to my face. People really do reach out to the families with love and food and whatever else might be needed. It’s one of the things I miss about my hometown. Funeral rituals here in the city are nothing compared to the ones back home. The sing-song passion of the preachers in their delivery and the honest sadness in the songs sung by members of the church, call to the deepest parts of the soul.
Thanks for the invitation, Connie!
Beautifully written. I was born here and lived here for most of my life. It is good to hear other people say good things about Grundy. I love my hometown.
I wish you could have seen Grundy in the 1950’s and 60’s. It was the busiest little main street that everyone had to drive thru and the only town for about 30 miles in that area. You would see old men in their best overalls and old women wearing their best apron over their dresses as well as the most expensively dressed younger women who only shopped at Mrs. Erdley’s. Everyone came to the drugstore for milkshakes and burgers and fries. There was a restaurant right near the bridge that had the best cube steak and gravy I’ve ever eaten. And of course walking the bridge was always an adventure-you never knew if you would have to narrowly pass by the local crazies or a passionate preacher or Fonzie type teens who always had a comment for you.I know rebuilding the town on the mountainside was the safest place, but It will never hold the excitement of going to town on Saturday that we kids felt back then. Great memories!
Yes wonderful memories! and the milkshakes at the Grundy drugstore were the best!
I worked at the Grundy drug store in the 50’s an 60’s . Have lived in many states an large and small cities. Grundy will always be home. The articles written are special as every one sees something good in this little town. Buchanan co. is a good place to live an work.
I grew up in Buchanan county. And graduated from Grundy high in 1956. The town was very active then. It seems odd that it is gone and the Hiway is all that remains. I live in Texas and spent most of my adult here but the good memories remain. The county has gone through a difficult period and I am hopeful that it will get better. Good article!,
I live in Richlands. Just a few minutes up the road from Grundy. It’s really nice to see that people who aren’t originally from this area can see the beauty in where we live:)
I grew up in the beautiful town and breath taking mountains you so vividly describe. I miss the mountains but more so the people. The Grundy of old with bustling streets on Saturday. The drive in movies or the bowling alley with friends. Thanks for reminding me of the beauty that your city friends will never understand. I have lived in cities coast to.coast and even Australia but there is no beauty to compare to sunrise in the Breaks on a clear summer’s day or a sunset Slate Creek as the.Sun disappears slowly behind the mountains I will forever be.proud to call my home. Thanks so much for the beautiful article.
Nancy, the Breaks is beautiful! I’ve written from there before.
Cheryl, thank you for your beautiful words about the town that raised me. Even though I do not live there any longer I am often reminiscent about my time spent there. It is wonderful to read my sentiments about my small town brought to life. I am often in wonder at the beauty of the small town nestled into the crook of the mountains. I look foward to reading more of you writing.
Wonderfully said! We are also transplants to Grundy and share many of the same feelings as you!
Thank you for writing this article. I was born and reared in Grundy, but moved to South Carolina in 1991 due to the shortage of RN’s. All the years here, my heart still yearns for home. Many people ask me why I miss a small town, when anything I need or want is here. Until I read your article, I found it so difficult to explain to everyone what I miss and why hope to someday move beck home. I lived just above the Bend of Slate, and as a teenager would walk out to the gap and sit on the cliff and watch the cars and coal trucks go by. It was so peaceful and serene, it was close to God. The feelings of love, peace, and joy is what I felt back then. I have never experienced that feeling anywhere else, except in church. In Grundy you feel God’s love everywhere. This is why I miss Grundy, but was unable to put into words, now thanks to you, I can! God Bless you, I hope to read more articles of my beloved hometown, because the longer you stay and meet the people, especially the elderly, the more you learn and the stronger your love for God’s town will become and hopefully more articles will be written. I for one will be waiting to read more. Many Blessings to you and your family and welcome to Grundy!
To see in print what kept my Missouri born father and me here in Buchanan County is touching. Dad wrote a song that begins, ‘My mountain home is like a garden, with beauty everywhere I see.”
What a wonderful description of a town that has changed so much over the years I’ve lived here. The Chamber of Commerce would do well to include it in their recruiting packets.
Above all, I’m happy for you that it gave you some relief from the grief you experience as you look back to Liberia.
Appreciate the kind words, Judy. Grundy has helped with healing, indeed. And for that, it will always hold a special place in my heart.
My daughter, Paula, thoughtfully passed along your enjoyable article. We live in the glaciated flatlands of the Midwest. Visiting Slate Creek hollow is a welcome contrast for relaxing vacations, and I could probably fit in as a permanent resident, but it is also nice to return home and be able to see sunrises and sunsets.
Cheryl Isaac. What a beautiful story. I am a Tazewell County person originally from McDowell County, West Virginia. Two Summers ago a friend and I did census in the Grundy area. We covered every area of Buchahan County. What a beautiful experience it was. You have probably heard the expression: “those people would give you the shirt right off their back.” That expression could not be more true of the Grundy and surrounding communities. It was a very hot July and most of the people would invite us to “sit a spell” on their porch and have a glass of iced sweet tea or ice water. So many stories I could relate but they would have to be told in privacy. Welcome to our world. Sit for a long spell and have a glass of iced sweet tea.
Lol to the privacy for some stories part, Louise. I know what you mean.
I love Grundy and Buchanan County. I married a Buchanan County (Breaks) native 52 years ago, and although he has been gone for 18 years, and I now live in Richlands, Buchanan County will always be my home. I often try to picture the area through the eyes of first-time visitors, and you described what I see! Thank you.
I was raised in Detroit, Mi,so to say at 18 years of age,when I came for a weeks visit and never when back, I really did experience shell shock. I am now a native of the county also, I have been married to a local boy for almost 42 years. I work in the local lumber store, so I get to meet all kinds of “strangers” and I am always curious as to how and why they are in the area, and then I always try to get their impression of my home town, I too have fell in love with the area, I am glad I got to raise my family here, thanks to all those people that made me feel so welcome years ago. Love y’all !
Thank you for this beautifully written article!! I love the fact that someone not “from here” can appreciate the beauty of our little town. The area is lovely, but our best asset is our people, they may not be as worldly as other places, but they truly have the biggest hearts you will ever find.
Thank you for such a wonderful and moving article! I’ve lived in this small town all my life and couldn’t imagine living any where other than here. We may be a small town with big changes, but we have always had family, friends, and neighbors with the biggest hearts, and a warm helping hand. I’m so glad that you to find the same enjoyment of Grundy as we do. I do believe we are some of the luckiest folks! We are so proud of our town, it’s heritage, and it’s ever changing development!
Thank you for capturing the spirit of Grundy. For those of us who lived there before all the changes, and those who live there now. I have always had memories of Grundy in my heart, and the folks I grew up with.
Many of us have departed after we have grown; however, many of us were unable to place pen to paper and explain why the town still grips us so tightly.
Sure, I have poked fun–in jest, of course–at the town that helped mold me into the adult I am today…But, it sure is a wonderful place. I would not change a single moment regarding my childhood. The YMCA, Agie Skeens, Friday football games, trips to the five and dime, etc. will always have a special place in my heart, just like the entire area known simply as “BUCK County.”
Thank you, Cheryl, for the wonderful read.
I wasn’t born in Grundy, but was raised here. I left twice as an adult, only to return for the very reasons written in your beautiful words. People view Grundy in many different ways, most literary works are not very positive. It’s wonderful to have an “outsider” see the beauty and put it on paper. I have never regretted my return and am glad you chose Grundy as well.
This was so beautiful! I have lived here all my life, and I never want to live anywhere else. I’m so glad you have come to love our little community.
Wow! What an beautiful description of my home town! My sister’s and I grew up playing in those mountains. We’d leave in the afternoon, climbing and exploring, and not come home until dark. I remember fishing at my grandfather’s fish pond, and drinking water out of a hose that fed the pond. Mountain water didn’t kill us, just made us stronger… My real father’s ashes are sprinkled on a mountain in Upper Mill Branch.. Thank you so much for your incite.
Though I haven’t really lived in Grundy since I moved away for college, your words took me back to all the things I love and miss about it. Thank you.
This is beautiful! As many others, I to have moved away. However I still have family there and it will always be my home. I love my mountains and even though my husband is from Richmond VA he is always excited to visit.
Thank you so much for writing this and showing the beauty that is in those mountains!
Wonderful article! Thanks for sharing your experience. Those of us who were born and raised in Buchanan County sometimes need a reminder of how blessed we truly are. I never knew these mountains until I moved away then couldn’t wait to return to them..I’ll never forget moment I came back home and saw those beautiful mountains for the first time in a long time.
Cheryl, this is a beautiful article. A great description of “home”. God has blessed you with vision to see the beauty that he has given us and also with the talent to vividly describe it and at the same time inspire us. Thank you for your kind, wonderful article and welcome to Buchanan County!
Thank you so much for writing this. There’s nothing quite like those mountains. The majesty of God can be seen in his mountains, can be heard in the soft whisper of the creeks and the tender cry of a bird at dawn.
I grew up in Grundy. I no longer live there but I never strayed from the mountains. Some call it a curse but I honestly wouldn’t feel at home anywhere else.
I like this part, Jessica: “The majesty of God can be seen in his mountains…”
What a beautiful article! I was born and raised at Big Rock and greatly treasure the memories of growing up in Buchanan County. Some of the finest folks in the United States are from that area.
I was born in Grundy, in my mommaw’s house. I was the last grandchild born at home! I always loved that about me. Grundy folk are simple folk. I hated seeing it torn down to make way for progress. I am not a fan of change. I liked it the way it was.
Beautifully written ! I was born and raised in Grundy, Moved away many many yrs ago but thanks to this article I went back home in my mind .SO relaxing .
Thank you for putting into words what I could only feel in my heart. I have been away from my mountain home for more than 50 years, with only too brief visits too far between. Next time I am home, I hope to meet you. I am thankful you survived your ordeal, sad you had to endure, and look forward to reading more of your writings.
Thanks so much for the kind words, Katie.
A lot of what you will hear is simply Old English being spoken, as “Ye reckon it’s comin’ a storm?” I was raised in Buchanan by grandparents who lived and spoke primitively. I still cherish the memories of those words and phrases. A lot of similes were used, also (“This knife is as dull as a froe”).
Read Lee Smith’s early novels to get the full flavor of the people, area, and language. She grew up in Grundy, and her characters live around there, in the hills and “hollers” (hollows between the hills).
If you want a really clear picture of what life and the people were like, I highly recommend the Foxfire Books. Compiled in Georgia, they could have been based in Buchanan county. Identical living and language…
Cheryl, I moved to Grundy in 1970 to teach for a year. After 42 + years here and reading your insightful article, I recon I’ll stay awhile longer, Lord willing. Thanks.
I left Grundy in 1961 to go to school and never moved back. However, when I think of home, it is Grundy. Your words bring back some of the things that mean “home” to me. Thank you.
I was raised in Roseann, VA which I think is about 18 miles from Grundy but I lefts in 1964 and haven’t been back since. This is a beautifully written article about the town I remember. Thanks!
I thoroughly enjoyed reading your article , you truly touched my heart! I am from Buchanan County, grew up in Chicago , my parents moved back “home” when I was nineteen and I had culture shock. As time passed and I felt at home, well that has been 30 + years and I wouldn’t live anywhere else. I love southwest Va and hate to hear people put it down with all the negative things instead of the positive things we are so richly blessed with. Your account of our area was so right, I applaude you. I feel I already know you, and would love to meet you , maybe at your first book signing. Looking forward for more of your writing. Welcome home…
Aww, thanks Rita. I feel like we’ve just exchanged an online hug 🙂
Thanks for a “trip down memory lane”, even if it comes from a distant admirer’s mind. Being a native of Grundy, has always made me proud, even when I lived away for a few years. The hustle and bustle of city streets just made me “hear my hometown calling me back” to the mountains, creeks and where I once roamed freely as a child. No matter where you travel, something or someone will make you think of our most “Beloved Grundy” and in some way, everyone connects to this small town. Thanks Cheryl for your article and it was very interesting to hear from “your view”!
This was truly a beautiful article.I was not born here but to me this is home. My family moved here one month after the 1977 flood. Being from Atlanta Georgia this was really different. I spent my last two years of high school here and made lifelong friends. My dad passed away two months after I was married and I had never seen anything close to the kindness and love that people showed to my family. I found the love of my life here in my wonderful husband. We found a church who made us feel like family. Even today after my dad being gone over 32 years people who knew him still talk about him. You can’t get that in a big city. Right now my husband is one of the many coal miners who are out of work. It may come down to us having to move. But when I think about it my heart aches because I would miss it so much. When I go back to Georgia for a visit, after 2 or 3 days I am yearning for the mountains. No we don’t have everything at our fingertips, and yes some winters are pretty rough but for the friends I have made and the beautiful mountains that this photographer loves, I wouldn’t trade it for anything.Thanks for putting into words what most of us can’t.
I have truly enjoyed reading your description of our small part of God’s World, I am glad that you are enjoying it as much as we who have lived here all our lives enjoy it!! Hopefully you will figure out which bird it is whose song you love so much! Just ask if you need any help with his ID. We have A great little bird club here which is always willing to help.
Chuck, I find birds so fascinating, I stalk them sometimes. Where does one find the bird club in Grundy?
We usually meet the second Monday of each month at the public library, or contact Roger Mayhorn (President of the club) on Facebook for more information.
Thank you for putting into words the feelings that truly experiencing Grundy/Buchanan County can evoke. I left over 40 years ago to explore the bigger world. Grundy has remained deep in my soul and the voices of all those wonderful people who helped shape my humanity have accompanied me through my journeys. My sister and I still have to get a periodic “Grundy fix” via a visit. After I visit, I have a sense of being renewed. Enjoy the beautiful “gifts” of a wonderful place. Most people who go there don’t allow themselves to feel the magic of a truly special place.
Thank you for such a beautiful article. I was born and raised on Little Prater until I moved to GA with my mom and brother roughly 10 years ago. There are many familiar names of others leaving comments and I often wonder how anyone could describe the beauty I found growing up there. I remember spending many, many days climbing in my backyard to sit at the top of the mountain and take in the surreal beauty that lives in the heart of Appalachia. Your words are a magnificent reminder of those days. Thank you.
Thanks, Ashley! We looked at places in Little Prater when we were searching for a home. Funny, I do the same thing now, try to climb somewhere up in the mountains and hills and look down. My dog loves the adventure too.
Because your perspective came partly out of war I can see why the mountains gave you a feeling of safty; almost as if you had ran here, almost hidden from the world. I grew up in Grundy and back then my thoughts were to get out of the dirty coal mining town where I always saw the poverty and lack of the people and my heart would break for them. Looking back 20 years I can see the beauty through your eyes. I go back to visit from time to time and now I will see with new eyes. I will be thinking about this piece and never see Grundy the same again. Thank you for your kind description that began a change in my mind and in my heart. I am sure that Grundy will become more precious to me the older I get. Thank you kindly.
Thanks so much, Susan. Yes, it is my safety net and solace. Growing up in a country where there was poverty, I can also see things from your point of your view as well. Everywhere has some good and bad of course, but the “special” about Grundy is definitely noteworthy.
Thanks to all of you for reading and taking the time to leave such polite comments. This is yet another example of the generosity of Grundy. If I haven’t responded to you individually, please know that I’ve read every comment and I’m very appreciative of your kindness.
I only lived there while I was in Grade school for 5 years, when asked Grundy is still my “hometown”.
Cheryl, I want to thank you for the beautiful article about my home town. Like many of the people who have posted comments, I too was born and raised in Grundy. I moved to Richmond, VA in 1991 with every intention of returning home to raise my family. However, life happened and here I am still in Richmond. I was so taken with how you described the mountains. I have trekked through those mountains so many times and have never felt closer to God. It is a deep visceral feeling that you describe so eloquently. I am so thankful that I was born and grew up in Grundy as I know that is what shaped me into the person I am today.
A very beautiful story. I grew up in southern West Virginia, McDowell County. I love those mountains and the peace I feel when I am there.I would trade the bigger cities any day for life in the hills.
What a beautifully written article!! My paternal family from generations way back are from Buchanan County, and my family still lives there, although some have moved away. If I had the opportunity to move back I would in a heartbeat. There is nothing like home. I was visiting last fall, the first time I had been there all by myself and I can honestly say I pulled my car over and cried like a baby when leaving. If you have never been to Grundy Virginia, you won’t know what I am talking about. Go see, is all I can say. Thank you again.
“Go see, is all I can say.” => So true, Marsha. In order to see Grundy, you have to feel it.
I grew up in Hurley about 17 miles from Grundy. I left there the day after I graduated from high school, I wanted to escape the dirty landscape, the poverty and make a better life for myself. I have never regretted that decision. I still have family that live there and I visit now and then. With all this been said, I loved you article about Grundy. It has given me a new perceptive about the area that I grew up in. The only thing I really missed was the kindness of the people that live there’
Cheryl, Thank you for your beautiful article on “my hometown.” As I sit in my South Carolina home this morning I have a tears rolling down my face as I read your article and the comments it has generated. My tears are from all the heartfelt comments made by my friends, family, teachers, classmates, etc. of a place that many outsiders never “get.” There are very few people, that I have met in my life, that truly understands my intense connection to a place that when I visit I have no cell service, no internet and must look up to see the sky. That is the place that I call “home”. (My Mother has lived on the same land for 73 years (Leemaster)…her entire life!)
At this point in my life “coming home” for me is like “detoxing” from the hectic society in which I now live. My hope is that one day I will be able to return and live out my life in Buchanan County.
Thank you again for the being the catalyst that stirred those deep emotions that today make me…”me.”
What a touching statement, Mary Kay. Now you have tears in my eyes from your comments and those from the Grundy community here. When people from a town can take the time to respond like this to an article written by an “outsider,” it says a lot about the people.
What a wonderful depiction of my adopted hometown! There is such beauty and grace here, you convey that masterfully. Thank you for sharing your thoughts, and I hope the mountains continue to bring you peace.
What a beautiful and deserving tribute you have given to a town whose existence is often times the “butt of someones’ joke. I agree with Susan Wallace ,you have given us new eyes through which to view Grundy.
I also think those mountains must have given a special compensation to those born there;because Having worked, and traveled into to Grundy for many years,I can say there are no finer ,generous ,and kinder people in all of SW Virginia than “Grundyites”. These attributes hold true to those who have chosen to remain in Grundy ,as well as those whose lives were shaped it, and have since moved on in other directions.
Connie, I was raised in a country that became the “butt of someone’s jokes.” I know the feeling.
After graduating high school in 1957 I left Buchanan County to ‘seek my fortune’ as they say. Now fifty five years later, I still recognize a fellow SW VA/E KY traveler after a few words of conversation, wherever in the world I may be. It is a wonderful legacy as I always know one of my own.
There is no other place that has spawned the humor and delivery of comedic stories by our people. They can put a NYC or LA stand-up comic to shame, only they generally would be sittin’ around. Gad, I’m homesick.
I have never read an article as eloquently written about “our town.” Thank you for seeing us as we really are and thank you for loving our mountains as we do. Time may have forgotten Grundy, but those of us who grew up in Buchanan County never will….I hope to meet you someday.
This article was so well written, I also was born and raised in Grundy, I have been away over 25 years, and this article makes me so homesick. I love Grundy also. Thank-you for your beautiful observation of Grundy.
Cheryl, Thank you so much. So nice to have an outsider enjoy the beauty of the area. I grew up on Garden Creek, and if you haven’t been there yet. Check it out. Very interesting. I always felt blessed to have been able to grow up there.
WOW, fantastic article. You must be a very special & perceptive person to have described in such a touching, beautiful manner the simple beauty that reveals its self in Grundy & the surrounding area. I grew up just over the mountain, Bradshaw Mt, from Slate Creek in the small coal mining town of Bradshaw. I had many family members who lived in or near Grundy. Going to Grundy in the 50’s was to us like going to a big hustling bustling city,lovely memories. I moved to Buchanan county, Jewell Ridge, in 1956 & graduated from Whitewood High School. Moved to Detroit, Mi for further schooling & work. I have always returned to that area, home, every year. Many family members are in Richlands. I Pass through Grundy each visit & the change after the flood was overwhelming. I can now see the development beginning to come about. Grundy will be back. These people are the salt of the earth. They are the most enduring, generous, precious people you will ever be blessed to meet. My heart will always be in those beautiful mountains. By the way, for a beautiful sunset & some spectacular views you must visit the top of Bradshaw Mountain…
Bradshaw mountain…hmm…I’ll have to look that up. Thanks for recommending!
If you live on Slate Creek then just keep driving up Rt. 83 to the top of the mountain and you have found Bradshaw Mtn. Drive on down and you can visit WV
Buchanan County was the lifelong home of my grandparents and my parents until we moved to Ohio in the ’60’s for economic reasons. While my brother and I were only small children, our hearts are forever in Vansant/Grundy. I can still smell the air and hear the creek…memories so dear that my heart aches to go back to that time. Thank you for recognizing the beauty of both the mountains and the people that God blessed to live there.
Wow , So beautiful ! I grew up in Grundy , until I was 12 . Was so ready to move . Thanks for sharing this ” touching view of Grundy ” . Just beautiful !
Sometimes a stranger sees more clearly than one with native grace.
“Treasure valley…” Beautiful piece! We must live down the street from you. Please stop by the Mountain Mission admin building and say hello or join us up on the hill for lunch anytime. Love to have you speak to one of our high school English classes!
Thanks for the invitation, Chris! I do and I shall. I thought the hill was soccer, or am I getting it all mixed up? I would love to speak to your English class so I’ll plan on stopping by.
Wonderful! And sorry for not being clear – I was referring to the “hill” across Edgewater, meaning our main campus. The hill next to our house is the soccer field, but the food’s better (and slightly easier to come by) up in our dining hall!
Thank you so much for the wonderful article. You have made me even more excited about my trip home in April.
Cheryl, this is a beautiful article, I haven’t lived in Grundy for over 55 years but I always came back to visit my family when my parents were living but they’re gone now.I have a lot of friends from Grundy since I graduated in 1959 that I keep in touch with. This article brings back great memories. On my visit to Grundy & the change after the flood was overwhelming. The last time I visited the Walmart had just been completed & the rest of the development was beginning to come about. Grundy will be back, maybe a little different from what we remember but it will still be a great little town. These people are the salt of the earth, and my heart will always be in those beautiful mountains.I lived on Rockhouse Mountains my 17 years while I lived there but left for further education, & a career. I can’t say that I’m sorry for leaving, but my heart does belong to Grundy.
Thanks so much you all. What fascinating stories of Grundy as a bustling city of the 50s! (I’m now intrigued).
It’s also fun to learn just how vast Buchanan County is and I’m interested in learning more about the county.
Thanks for writing this article. I am not from Grundy, but I was born some twenty miles to the east on a branch off Keene Ridge, which branches off the top of Bradshaw Mountain. I left the area a little more than sixty-four years ago to pursue a career in the Army and Air Force, but I return at least once a year to visit family and to renew the vision of those beautiful mountains that is always present in my mind. I will be returning in June, 2013, probably for the last time, but I can hardly wait until I reach the place where I that I am home.
You seem to enjoy your stay there and I hope you can continue to do so for many years to come.
Thanks for helping to keep us safe, Lowell! And for your comment, of course.
I had a little computer glitch there, but I think I still conveyed the idea that I am looking forward to being home.
Where you in the class of 62?
also had two sisters so we may know yo
Thanks so much for your article about Grundy. I am a lifelong resident of this little town that has gone through so many chnges and challenges. My 93 year old mother is full of stories about how things used to be.
Isn’t it interesting that it sometimes takes a new set of eyes to really observe what the rest of us see every day?
What a beautifully descriptive piece…you’ve captured the essence of the area and its people. I grew up in the Davenport section of Buchanan County and most of my family still resides in and around the area. My father and grandfather were both coal miners and both died from lung cancer after working hard to raise their families. My grandmother raised 13 children and lived to be 95. She was a very courageous and determined woman who saw much hardship in her life time but never let it define her. She loved her Heavenly Father, her family and neighbors, and she enjoyed the beauty of God’s creation; the mountains, birds, and flowers. She was content with life. She knew how to see and enjoy the beauty around her and knew what was truly important in life and I wish I was more like her. I have been out of the area for nearly 25 years now and long to return to the mountains of Southwest Virginia; having often felt like a “fish out of water” here in Northern Virginia. I think the true beauty of the area and its people is the fact they haven’t succumbed to being entangled in the “rat race” that many of us in “normal” America have…and I pray they never do. Buchanan County has never ceased to be home to and I doubt it ever will.
Great reading So glad you choose Grundy as your home.
Many visitors don’t see the value you obviously have found in Grundy,and I was really moved in reading your observations. I am not from Grundy but am a lifelong resident of beautiful Powell Valley, two counties to the south of you. I worked at UVa-Wise 33 years and met many students from out of the area who thought they had landed in a terrible place, but at the end of four years they had come to love us so much that they looked here first for employment. That always pleased me. You obviously have come to cherish the encircling mountains, too, and I say to you, “Welcome home.” Now will someone please send this to Kerry Kennedy?
“Welcome home.” => Aww, how nice of you, Sharon 🙂
Here is another Thank you for your wonderful article about Grundy! I too was born there and moved away. It is still in my heart, with such fond memories. You have made me want to go back to see the “new” Grundy so different from my childhood. Again, the eyes of a stranger sees things. Glad you are finding peace there.
Peace indeed. Thanks, Pat!
Thank you so much!!! I am so happy to see a positive article written about Grundy. Not many people get it, but the ones of us that do, get to reap the rewards. Thank you so very much again!!!
For those of you who haven’t already seen it, here is a piece by Lee Smith from the very first issue of South Writ Large on being “raised to leave” Grundy: http://southwritlarge.com/articles/raised-to-leave-some-thoughts-on-culture/
This is the most beautiful and true article that has ever been written about Grundy—-especially now,when it is hard to look beyond all the construction and traffic jams and appreciate the beauty that has always been there. Maybe it takes your “new eyes,” Cheryl. Thanks for your insight and your lovely writing. I’m glad you are seeing the truth of what my father always said, “Grundy has the best people in the world.” I’ve been gone for a long time, but I am always homesick.
Aww, thanks so much, Lee. I’m flattered! Coming from you, this means a lot 🙂
Thank you, Cheryl. My family moved to Grundy from WV in 1957. The saying “it takes a village” describes my memories of growing up there. Every adult was a ‘relative’ looking out for our safety and well being. I am so glad you’ve found that same home. So, when you go to the law school campus, imagine a group of Grundy friends who met up every school day and sat on the front fence laughing and talking before starting class. We are still laughing and talking, however it is electronically.
Thanks, Sara. How touching! Hopefully one day we can all sit, laugh, and talk together at the law school (your childhood school).
Thanks y’all! It’s nice to see this town through the eyes of a “stranger” and know that you see some of the same things I do. Hopefully as I learn more, there will be more. There are some things (and places) that are so rare, that they become jewels…
I grew up in Grundy. Left in 1971 to serve in US Coast Guard and lived and worked in other places. Your insights about the town reminded me of the place where the whole community helped raise me. It was a wonderful place to grow up. I don’t have any imediate family left in Grundy but I will always consider it my home. Thanks for the reminder.
You have put into words, feelings that only a True Mountain Lover can feel. You can never
leave Grundy, SHE goes with you for the rest of your life. I once told my Husband, “The roots of the South, wrap around your Heart” I went to school in the building your Husband is now working in. So many memories float through my head, as I read your account of a place I will call home forever.
Fran, I’m still in awe every time I look on either side of the house and there’s the mountains waving back at me. People in the city pay lots of money for “getaway” cabins in the middle of such breathtaking view of nature, and I get to have it every day. I don’t take that for granted.
I lived in Grudy for 5 years as a child, leaving in 1957, I still miss Grundy and call it home. I recently met some of my old school mates on line, I love catching up. No matter weather the person was good or bad just remember they made you who you are and that also goes for the town you lived in. Thanks for good memeories. Tell your husband to take good care of that building.
Ha! I’ll make sure I pass the message along to him, Eleanor.
Loved you story. Hope you find your way to my “neck of the woods” sometime, Bradshaw Mountain, we are located just a “hop, skip and a jump” up the road from you. Would love for you to put into words what you think about our Mountain. You are a gifted writer…Thanks
As reading this articale on Grundy makes me homesick for the mountains, My aunt lived in Grundy and we used to visit her, We only road the bus 11 miles from Jolo, just over Bradshaw Mt.but it seems as if we were on a long trip, and to us we were,what a beautiful picture it makes me long for the mountains I left 1953 and followed my husband from army camp, and then Air Force Base, I loved my travels but I never fill at home until I go back to the Mts.in my dreams it has never changed from my childhood days,Thank you for giving me a piece of my childhood.
Thanks so much, Pamela, a couple of people have mentioned Bradshaw mountain. It is on my list of places to explore soon!
Your description of the town and the warmth of the people reminds me that I once called Grundy home. I’m sister to Eleanor who commented above. We lived in Watkins Branch in Royal City. I started collecting stamps because I could walk to the little post office and buy stamps for 3 cents and the postmistress was most patient as I picked out my favorite stamps. My other memories are of the elementary school and high school which now houses the Law School. Band practice in the gravel parking lot between the elementary school and the high school was exciting as we prepared our routines for the football games. It was a big deal to be able to leave the school and get lunch. I remember going to get lunch at the drugstore, or in the little restaurant that was nearby. The mountains were a comfort to me, as were the friends we had way back when. Your article has brought back many lovely memories. Thank you.
How nice, comments from sisters!
Thanks for the memories !!! I was born in Grundy and happily include myself as a fellow Grunion. I left there as a child but have visited family all around there thru the years. I live in Richmond now
And there’s quit a difference, one that I love to go back and visit again and again. So many memories and loved ones left behind, loved ones that’s not with us now.Grundy is unique and I love it when our McAllister Family reunions are scheduled there.It’s like going back in time, a time in my life I will forever cherish.
This is so beautiful! My family and I moved to NC in 2010 and reading this makes me just want to go and visit home and those beautiful mountains! Thank you so much for expressing this beauty in your words!
I’m sorry to make you all homesick, but I’m glad this made you think of home. Thanks for the kind feedback.
Grundy is more meaningful to me because of your words. Sometimes our appreciation must be felt through the heart and soul of another. Thank you!
I was born in that county, educated through high school and continued to be a part of that area as a high school teacher.. I do longer live there; but I still have special friends there and I often speak with one special friend. I guess I lived in that area longer than any of my siblings. My thoughts of Grundy are always pleasant. The area provides you with great work ethic and with a determination to make the most of life. Struggles with nature and survival does much to make one stronger. Grundy is definitely a hugh part of my life.
I thank you for your excellent article… Enjoy Grundy and continue to find those wonderful facts.
Thank you for this beautifully, written article. May I quote? ” the mountains of Grundy become as necessary as the shell of a turtle, its shelter as private as the inner compartments of my mind.”
You may, Rhonda. Thanks!
Aw, thanks so much!
I just read your wonderful essay about Grundy and I want to invite you to speak to my students. I teach Advanced Placement English 12 and Creative Writing at Grundy High School, and I would love to have you speak to my students about your experiences and writing.
Would you be interested?
Thanks, Rebecca, I would love to. How do I get in contact with you?
I’ve lived in the away form Grundy for nearly 40 years. Suddenly I could see myself going home?
Come back home, Garry 🙂
Please note that we also have another beautiful author
of Grundy stories, Ruth White. In fact, I enjoy her stories much more than Lee Smith’s. They are pure, poetic and innocent. I have read all of her books and she continues to write about the
Grundy area since the 60’s. She should also be recognized and honored as a SW Virginia novelist.
Wonderful article! My family has been in Grundy for generations and my grandparents and parents still live there. It’s so great going back to visit and spend time down there. My husband absolutely loves going and hunting in the mountains. Truly was a great place to grow up and call home!
Cheryl, the only words I can think of right now is “Beautiful”. I love your article so much. Yes, and I repeat–tell your husband to take care of our school. I
graduated there in 1952. Then we had all 12 grades in that
building. Great memories there. Come up to Elkins Branch
some day and visit!! I also would recommend Lee Smith’s
“Sitting on the Courthouse Bench.”
I grew up in Buchanan County. Graduated Hurley High School in the year of 1960. I left to go to school and make my mark on the world. I got as far as Bluefield, Va. I have always loved Grundy. Fond memories of helping my mother in a resturant where the movie theatre is today/ We fed the high school kids at noon. I enjoyed the 5 and dime store, the drugstore and seeing the movie “Giant” with my sister. The mountains always let me know when i neared my home place. Playing in the mountains gathering wildflowers,running barefoot and getting bee stung. We had an apple tree in almost every corner of our yard. I still go back once a year to a reunion or funeral of a loved one. I enjoyed my years living there and have fond memories of family and friends still there and those who have died and gone,but not from my memory. I believe there is a song that goes like this. “If i could go back, if just for a day” ,,meaning in time of course. enjoyed your article of a stranger in our town. Thank you.
Welcome Home! Grundy is a good place to live!!!
Thanks! I will check out all the recommendations.
Thank you for a wonderful article and perfect insight into the town I will always call home. It’s heartwarming to know that Grundy can touch so many, even when they have traveled different and long paths to reach it.
This is a beautiful description of Grundy! I particularly like when you said, “Mountain life is an existential burrow that propels you forward, deeper and deeper into its folds, until from beneath its shadows, while you await the sun’s slow dance around its peaks, while you gaze in awe at its sharp, rugged beauty and encompassing breadth, you become deeply aware of who you are, who you are not, who you can become, because nothing explains the baffling world better than its indescribable nature.”
OH how I am home sick. Reading this was so wonderful and touching but the comments from people who are from our little piece of the earth make it the most personal to me. Tears are running down my face as I miss my grandmothers beauty shop. I miss sitting in there and listing to the ladies talk and knowing at the end of the day that I get to eat my Mimmies food. I love so many people back home. I feel like I have been raised by everyone there. I love the way that when I go home the world seems to go away. I have horrible anxiety but yet when I am there I am so peaceful. I am loved. I can’t wait to go home in August. My husband always says…arent you claustrophobic here because of the mountains. ITs funny because its the opposite. Its like the mountains huge me. They are my safe place in this world. I miss my family horribly right now…and there are tears in Texas for Grundy tonight.
The mountains hug me too, Amanda.
The only other state that I like as much is Texas, where I met my wife. I came back to VA after she pasted. Some how Grundy has helped me deal with her death. Of course Grundy looks nothing like it did when I was growing up here, but the people I grew up with though older still except me as I am just like they did before I left.
My sympathies, Michael.
This article is so touching. I was borne and raised in Grundy, way up in the head of a hollower so far in a hollower that in the winter the school bus wouldn’t even travel we would have to meet the bus at the mouth of the hollower. That was the good ole days for sure. I like many of the readers have had to leave my home town to get work, but some day hope to return to live out my days in Buchanan County. Like my Father and Mother are doing now and have lived there all their lives which is 70 plus years. So glad that an outsider sees what we see in those mountains. Thank You
Wow! What an outstanding commendation of our little town. I loved how the words seemed to flow from your, I guess I should say, eyes and ears, but rather I will say, heart. Have you seen the Breaks Park yet? That is where I was raised. Talk about paradise in the mountains, this small village owns my heart. I remember playing in the creeks with my brother and sister. We were hunting for crawl-dads, as we called them then and every other little exciting treasure we may find. We also played daily in the hills and mountains next to our home. The Breaks is a jewel from heaven in my eyes. If you have not visited yet, please do. The magnificent overlooks in the park looking down on the river, usually full of canoes, are spectacular! There isn’t a trail in that park that have not trodden on many times over. Again, Please visit the Park aka ‘The Grand Canyon of the South’. Having been raised there, Grundy was a regular daily trip for groceries at the then ‘Piggly Wiggly’. Crossing Bull Mt. each day to go to school even before the road was widened, was always a journey of sites and sounds. As an adult, my husband and I and our two small boys moved to Grundy to live. We live up Slate Creek on a tiny street that runs behind the Grundy High School, Booth Branch. We lived there for 11 years and then moved to Abingdon. We loved the lake here, Holston, and our boys loved playing upon it. My mother, sister and Aunts and Cousins still live in the ‘Breaks’. I visit my Momma as often as I can and when I travel there, I often take ‘Big A Mt.’. Oh the beautiful view from the top of that Mountain. It is God’s land. You can see 3 different states from up there, another must see. Our beloved mountains have kept us, raised us, fed us, I do love them so. Thank you so much for writing your view of our Home. I am no longer young, at 44 yrs old. Those mountains hold my heart and soul. I long to go home again and again and nestle in the arms of my Momma and the heart of our Glorious Mountains. Thank you once again. Reading what your heart has experienced was a wonderful moment of nostalgia for me.
Tracy, I have been to the grand canyon of the south. It is ASTOUNDING! Took lots of pictures on the overlook. Did some pedal-boating out there too. Simply beautiful. Thanks for the comment. And yes, I will have to agree–it is the heart.
I grew up in the longbottom area of slate creek such a beautiful place and wonderful childhood memories.what a beautiful article of my hometown. Have lived in Cola. sc since 1980.but hold Grundy close.
Wonderful article!!! Love my hometown so much!!!
Hi Cheryl, Grundy is my hometown although I haven’t lived there for many years. I shared your article on my Facebook page so that all of my friends, both here, there and everywhere, could read it and appreciate it. I hope you don’t mind my sharing.
Grundy Senior High
Class of 1968
Thanks for sharing, Pat! No, I don’t mind.
I so enjoyed reading this. You are a gifted writer and thank you for seeing and “painting the picture” the way we see our wonderland. LIke other areas, we are not perfect by any means but, we have so many beautiful resources, not the least of which is “our people” and now (welcome) you are one of them!
Thanks for a Fantastic Article. You captured my feelings exactly about this wonderful area. Year after year, I never cease to be amazed by watching the scenery around me and day by day, thanking God that He put me here to watch it change. It’s a pleasure to read something nice about our area. Thank you, again!
Also, be sure to visit the tops of the mountains around here…there, the true beauty awaits. Compton Mountain, Brown Mountain, Fletcher’s Ridge…Awesome views!!! Also, Bradshaw Mountain! and the Breaks Interstate Park!!! Thanks again!!!
Lisa, I’ve been to Breaks, went there for my birthday and stood on the mountaintop overlooking the streams. It is such a majestic site. I would love to visit Compton soon. Fletcher’s Ridge I’ve been hearing about a lot too. Thanks so much for the suggestions.
Thank you for expressing what we ( those of us who grew up in Grundy) think about our hometown. Even though a lot of us may have moved away, there is still that connection. My school classmates of 1967 are still close even though we are miles apart, I know I can call on them for anything. You only develop that type of friendship in a town like Grundy. The beauty of the mountains and the warmth one feels when they come back for a visit. We all need a Grundy fix once in awhile. Thanks for putting it into words.
Mary, I’m hearing a lot about the class of 1967 and 1968. The 60s really, I should say. I hope to meet you all someday. You sound like a warm, tight knit group that I can learn a lot from. Thanks for the kind words.
Cheryl, Loved the story about haw you came to our little town, I’am 63 years of age, been half way around the world with Uncle Sam in the late 60 and 70’s. Lived in a good part of the USA, but nothing compete’s with my Mountain’s. Ive been one of those who has made a living out of the coal mining industry and have no complaint’s about the hard work it take’s to make it. As far as our mountain’s and stream’s, they have been a part of my life all along, hunting, fishing, in Slate Creek for Trout in years gone by, to Cat fish and Small Mouth Bass in the river> Today I just like to catch and release them, so I can fish another day. As for the place where they don’t want you, I dare say that this is one of the most caring place’s you will ever find. You just can’t beat the Old Hill Billy, for reaching out a helping hand. Thank you for the kind word’s and story.
JR, your comments made me smile. And halfway around the world? Wow.
Thanks to all of you, I’m finding comfort as I write. You all show how special Grundy really is. Though you’re scattered all over the place, I admire the community you still share.
Beautiful story. Thank you for painting a picture of a simple place, with simple people without making them sound uneducated and backwards.
I am now a city dweller today but I was born and raised just a couple counties from Grundy and I have grown weary of the media who paint the south as a outdated place with ignorant inhabitants with front yards filled with broken down cars and moonshine stills and townspeople who have but a single tooth while sporting a wardrobe that consists only of camouflage and sleeveless t-shirts. The south is breathtaking and its people take the time to enjoy the people and beauty around them.
I retire next month and i’m filled with peace and anticipation as I prepare to move to my new home and make new friends in SW Virginia. Thanks for the reminder of what is yet to come…..
What a beautiful description of my hometown. I left it more than 20 years ago and to be honest I never looked back. Your article described it in a way I have never heard before but in a way I can really appreciate…
Thank you for the beautiful words about our little hometown, painted in a good light, not like some who write about us from out of town. Welcome to our community, hope you continue to find beauty in our mountains and people who live here. I hate to hear folks bashing Grundy because of the improvements being made here, nothing can stay same as it was, we have to have growth and I love it, each stage of the change gets better and better. The construction is frustrating going through, but it will be worth it in the end. I was raised in these hills, moved to Ohio for seven years, but have been back home almost forty years now and I assume will die in these beautiful mountains. I too appreciate you putting into words what a lot of us feel, and stirred lot of memories for a lot of people. Enjoy your time here, for however long it is, and may God bless you and your family.
Thank you for writing so beautifully about a beautiful place. This was my home growing up and I am proud that this was my hometown. So many can’t see the beauty of Grundy. So many want to write and say negative things about this area. I appreciate your words!
Thank you for the beautiful words. I grew up in Grundy and yes I have moved away but still consider Grundy as my home. Greatest town ever. Lots of good people live there. I think it is showing great growth as was mentioned in this article. Ever been to the Breaks Interstate Park? If you haven’t them you have missed one of the best parks in Virginia. Ever been to Poplar Gap? Missed a great view. Everyone should go to Grundy and see for themselves.
Thank you for your beautiful description of my hometown. I wouldn’t trade my mountain heritage for any other.
I lived in Buchanan county (Grundy/Vansant) for 43 yrs before moving to KS. That area will always be home and I love to tell people here about the beautiful mountains and people there. Don’t get back to visit as often as I would like.
I don’t live in Grundy,but I do live in SW VA. I lived in Miami, Fl for 27 years came BACK HOME TO THE MOUNTAINS!!! One does feel close to GOD and nature in this part of the country.. I will take my mountains and my little town of Chilhowie Va any day of the week. Loved your article. Beautiful.. Enjoy living in GOD’S country… Many Blessings to you and your family.
I visited Pat and Terry Wilson here years ago. Reading this has made me want to revisit the area. Beautifully written.
thank you for the wonderful story.most don’t understand this town and the people there.you reminded me of why I am never afraid or ashamed to say Grundy is home. Thanks again. And I hope your time in Grundy is pleasant.
As a writer, I was inspired. As someone who was born in the Grundy hospital, I was treated to a rewind of special memories. Thank you.
Thank you so much for your sweet words you have written about the place that is so dear to my heart. It is the place where I would meet my boyfriend at lunch time. Of course he became my husband. The place we got our marriage license. My husband is gone now, so I’m left hunting for things about Grundy. I was so surprised to see so many people feel this way about the place, that always felt natural to live this way, I feel that growing up here made me the person I am now. I’m almost 70 and don’t live there anymore but I’m proud to tell everyone that my home town is Grundy Va. I’m not surprised that people there make you feel at home I wouldn’t expect anything less from them. They are great people. Again thank you so much
This is a beautiful piece. Thank you for writing it.
Wow! Skillfully written piece about a uniquely beautiful place.
May we all learn to see the beauty all around as you have. Your writing reminded me of my youth, hiking in those mountains, swinging from a giant evergreen and feeling the embrace of the natural beauty all around…. And driving those roads (whew! I should have joined NASCAR)Thank you.
As one of those baby boomers who grew up in Buchanan County in the 50’s and 60’s, I was delighted to read your well reasoned and well written article.
Nature was our playmate. We ran in the woods, played in the creeks, learned the names of the trees, birds and wildlife. We experienced the floods of ’77 and ’57! We found morels in the spring and ginseng in the fall. In those years coal was booming and the streets of Grundy on Saturday were as busy as New York’s Time Square! ASL was our junior high. We walked into town at lunch for a plate of french fries at Paul’s Restaurant. We made lifelong friends who care about us whether we still live in Grundy or many states away.
Grundy was and is a special place. People often detect my mountain dialect and accent and ask where I’m from. I’ve never been ashamed to say, “I’m from Grundy”.
We didn’t need your article to make us proud (as I’m sure you can tell from all the comments) but I’m thankful you expressed your appreciation of our hometown so beautifully.
GSHS Class of ’67
“Grundy was and is a special place.” => Truer words have never been spoken. Thanks for the kind comments, Earl.
My wife Linda & I are from Wisconsin. We were married in Union Chappell up on the mt from Vansant. We got our marriage license frm the court house in Grundy. I was in Viet Nam with Clayton Perkins of Vansant. Clayton & Ann Perkins continue to be some of our dearest friends, as are their daughter & son in law David & Lisa Baber, and their son & daughter in law Todd & Cayla Perkins. We get down there to visit occasionally & love the area. We were just there in August of 2014 . We’ve been to Breaks Park a couple of times. We have met lots of wonderful people in the area. Look forward to ur next visit . I am amazed at the on going construction of the Coal field highway that is being buildt,& hope that I can live long enough to travel some of it. God bless all the wonderful people of the area & all the beauty of the area.
What a Magnificent portrayal of our beautiful town! It never ceases to amaze me that the friendship and kindness of that small town is immeasurable.. The culture is as diverse as the birds songs! The stories the love and beauty nestled both in the hearts of the families and the mountains and streams.. God blesses our town abundantly!
I’ve enjoyed your article! I have driven through West Virginia twice this year since my daughter moved to Virginia. It’s a beautiful state! I’ve wanted to get off the road and explore. You make me want to see Grundy! (Especially since I have a friend who apparently lived there — how I found this link!)
I invite you to Iowa! I’d love to “hear” your word picture of my hometown. Like someone above, I think you have reminded us to look closely! Thanks.
What a sweet read! I lived in Vansant, VA in the sixties where my father ministered an the Vansant Church of Christ. we attended school at the Mountain Mission. many wonderful memories of this mountain home, Thanks for this clear picture of those days.
Thank you for writing something so sweet about Grundy. That is my home town I love it there and would not change anything about Grundy. After reading this I was so happy someone can see it for what it is I have read other articles about Grundy and they say that Grundy is a sh** hole pattern my language but it mad me mad I hope you enjoy your time there and you must go to flanagan damn it is breath taking and thank you again
I only wish I’d posted the photos that a photographer and employee at ASL gave me after this article. They were breathtaking views of the mountains at sunrise. Grundy may have its quirks, like anywhere else, but folks don’t concentrate enough on its beauty. Thanks for the heartfelt comment, Heather.
My dad was a coal miner very proud to say this to anyone. I’m miss him very much love this thanks.
I grew up in Grundy, and as a teenager, could not wait to leave. I thought the town backward, lacking in any amenities, as compared to Bristol or Bluefield. However, upon reading your article, I have reclaimed some of the wonder and magic that the mountains gave to me as a child, before I was seduced by material things. Your love and awe shines through in every word you write. It is obvious that you feel compassion for those who don’t see the magnificence of this small town. Thank you for the beautiful words.
Love this article! Thank you for your positive perspective of our beautiful county!!!!
I moved away 35 years ago but Grundy is still home. I still have many family members that live there and I try to visit them every year. It’s a wonderful place to live and raise a family. Thank you so much for writing the article, I really enjoyed reading it. Good luck on you book.
This is a well put together and accurate essay of what life is like in Appalachia. When you leave for even a short while you realize what you took for granted so often. 10/10 enjoyed the time I spent reading your work.
An exquisite piece of writing about Grundy. I’ve lived and/or worked in the Virginia coalfields for 27 years (the Norton/Wise area) and am a native of the Glade Spring/Abingdon area . . . cattle/tobacco farms and a world-class professional theatre . . . I’ve been writing/editing at a small community newspaper in Norton for 25 years, for not-great money, but it’s all about deep, profound love for Southwest Virginia. Welcome to our weird, wonderful, gorgeous corner of the world.
You all really do have a magnificent theater in Abingdon, Jeff. And what about that Zazzy’s, eh? Love them. Thanks for the comment and I wish you well with your writing.
i never lived there but my parents live there till 1988 and my whole family is from there and i always wanted to live there and let my kids experience what i did growing up visiting my grandmother that still live up lemaster and going hiking at my aunts up on lovers gap. i never really lived there but i feel as tho i did and i may be young but i remember the town the way it was before everything changed. this artical really hit home to our family so thank you
I was born and raised in Grundy. Even though I have moved away years ago,I still have the love for the town. I used to take walks into the mountains and I loved the fall the most due to the leaves changing. So breathtaking beautiful to see the fall leaves-you just knew God was there and ever present. I had moved to the Blueridge Mountains which were beautiful in their own right, nothing could compare to the Mountains of Grundy. As the saying goes “you can take the girl out of the mountains but not the mountains out of the girl. Grundy will always be a part of me. Good article – thank you for portraying is on such a beautiful way.
Your beautiful comments are a reflection of Grundy – thanks to you all for stopping by to reminiscence about your lovely home.
I was blessed to read your article about my hometown. My husband and I moved away in 2008 to be closer to our family, but Grundy is still in our heart and soul. It makes me so happy to read a positive description of the town I grew up in and loved. Thank you so much for the the beautiful picture you painted with your poetic words describing “Our Town”.
Cheryl, just read your wonderful article about my home town, Grundy. I was born and grew up in Grundy, attending school in what is the law school now. You captured my own thoughts in every sentence. I wish you could have known the old Grundy. My heart was broken when it was demolished to build the flood wall. It was a wonderful story book town, where every one knew who you were, where you lived and what you needed. The town across the river may be new and modern, but it will never be Grundy. I have written a book about the history of Grundy, my family and our neighbors. The title is A TRIP DOWN MEMORY LANE. Every store, restaurant and theater meant something to me. I worked in most of the stores and restaurants. My husband proposed to me in the Morgan Theater. We ate ham salad sandwiches and vanilla milk shakes at the Grundy Drug, with the two big lions looking down us, that now stand some where in the law school, So many wonderful memories, my husband passed away in October. I live in Richlands, VA. My heart and my roots will always be in Grundy. Thank you for writing such a beautiful story, and welcome to my home town. Rosalie Davis Null
First, I want to praise the writer of this wonderful article. Growing up in such a small town of course has it’s and downs just like everywhere else, but growing up in Grundy was indeed special. No cliques like you see at other schools in other places. Everyone in my class, which was the Class of 93 to be exact, got along with everyone. That is something you just don’t see outside of tight communities. For us, and incidentally the other 3 classes at Grundy Senior High School during those 4 years were just as close as we were, and vice versa. It didn’t matter what, if any, sport you played, whether or not you was a cheerleader or the Homecoming Queen for that matter, and it didn’t matter what your parents did for a living, we were all a Golden Wave. We got to enjoy 15 straight Region IV and VHSL State Wrestling championships, beating Graham in basketball in 1991 which was Grundy’s first Southwest District win in 3 or 4 years, our Lady Wave basketball team dominating the Southwest District and Region IV girl’s basketball for many years, our track team and baseball team fighting as hard as we could every meet or game, and finally our Golden Wave football teams, who brought back that pride and grit that Grundy has always been known for. I truly cherished my days walking the hallways of Harman Elementary, Grundy Jr High School (which incidentally is now the Appalachian School of Law building that your significant other is employed) and finally to Grundy Senior High School. I wouldn’t change anything about my time in Grundy and was truly heartbroken when my father was transferred due to work, thus moving a month before my senior year to Abingdon. Living in Abingdon was a big change for myself in general because I already had a home with friends I had known for many years and was slammed when I was told the bad news. I was even fortunate that my high school best friend’s family offered to let me live with them so that missing my Senior Year was not an option. We were brothers and leaving them like that always seemed to bother me. I know I had no option in the situation other than following my parents towards the Virginia/Tennessee state line and leaving my home. I still live in Abingdon and both of my children go to Abingdon High School. They often asked me when they were young why my Abingdon Falcon’s letterman’s jacket had my Grundy Golden Wave athletic G letter sewn to it and I answered them the same every time. “You never forget where you come from or what kind of impact that place had on you”. Your words took me back to a time that I had long ago forgotten about. Grundy was always and is still a great place to live. And thank goodness for writers such as yourself that can capture on paper what makes a town the special place it is. Thank you!
I am a native to Buchanan County I have lived here all my life I married a girl we are both from Hurley .In order to get here you have to go across a mountain either way. I have worked in a coal mine for about 35 yrs. But I would not change anything about if I could.People talk about our community like we are backwards,I really liked what you said about our way of life here.It is like the old saying its a good place to visit, but I would not want to live there. Thanks for all the uplifting things you said .Now it makes me want to hold my head high.
I grew up at that “mission school” across the slate creek and street from where you live; I built forts in those mountains, set up “ownership” of a cave high above the girl’s dormitory, and swam in Slate Creek as a boy. Now, 30 plus years after I left, I realize that I’ve not actually left, because the lessons I was blessed to carry with me – whether they be the lessons gifted to me by the mountains and overall nature, or lessons gifted to me by the servants of God at the Mountain Mission School and the local God-fearing local people – those lessons have ensured I either stayed on the right path or returned to it most hastily upon straying. ‘We can fly, but the cocoon has to go’, read a statement on a poster in music class when I was growing up, and which I often stared at and thought about during music classes. I’ve learned that, when planted in and raised in a stable, moral environment, we carry that environment with us, and effectively it is as if we’ve not left, whether we ever physically return or not. It is as if it is a protective cocoon, ensuring our souls are sheltered from the cruel reality that can be in this world. For that blessing, thank you, Mountain Mission School, mountains of Appalachia, and good people of the area. To you, as well, Ms. Isaac, thank you, for the walk down memory lane.
Thank you for the article. My family was from Harman. The law school was the school I graduated from high school. Lived many places but now live in Bristol. Will always think oh Grundy as home. Many successful people here in Bristol call Grundy home
Really enjoyed this piece.What books do you write,Im always looking for another good book.I left Big Rock in 1978 have been back a few times .Will always remember the years at the high school,visits to the Breaks.Even though I grew up there and have ridden on those curving winding roads ,it scares me to death to ride on them now.Thanks for bringing back some good memories.
Thank you for this article. You so eloquently placed my hometown in a beautiful setting of words that describes her beauty and her ruggedness. I grew up there but left before my high school graduation. Another place has never felt like home to me and I’ve been gone since 1976, right before the floods changed everything. The present Law School was my Jr. High School. My memories are of the busy streets filled with friends and fun shopping days, Freely running through the streets and down to the river to play – like others have described. It now seems like a storybook. So many wonderful memories and truly authentic people. There is such remarkable beauty in those mountains and they call you home when you leave and their whisper in your soul is never silenced. Thank you for putting the beauty to pen in such a way that it pulls the recall from places that is has been carefully tucked away in so many hearts and minds.
Thank you for your beautiful description of what will always be my home, at least my home in my heart.
I grew up in Hurley, at the foot of Rock Lick Mountain.
We moved away at the beginning of my junior year of high school. I live in Bristol now, but Buchanan County will always be my home.
I was raised in Grundy..I moved away years ago to PA,but always came back to visit my parents. Your story was well written it brought back many great memories..Thank you so much for the awesome details that was so vivid in my mind. Grundy is not the same as it was when I lived there my father always said they destroyed the town as he remembered the good ole days of his childhood and that of my sister and I. But no matter what they have done to our little town we will always have fond memories of the town during the busy times when all the businesses were thriving. Such sweet memories that will never die. Again thank you for the amazing article! Keep them coming!!! Gail
I grew up in Grundy but moved away in my early twenties to Philadelphia, PA. I have fond memories growing up in a very small town and your article brought them all back. I always came back every year to visit my parents. When your young you don’t see all the priceless beautiful surroundings that we take for granted you just want to move away to exciting big cities. My father always said they destroyed Grundy with all the construction they have done tearing down the buildings to prevent floods. I remember Grundy when all the stores were thriving and the streets were bustling with merchants and the people coming to shop. The “Good Ole Days” as my Dad would always say! Sad and sweet memories that are tucked away ever so clearly into my brain that will never go away. Memories of shopping with my Mom in Grundy on Saturdays when she would go food shopping and go to the Five and Dime and then we would have lunch at the Rexall Drug Store Tomato soup and Grilled Cheese sandwich yum!!! Memories!!! That you for the amazing article and thank you for flooding my mind of all the great memories of Grundy, my parents who are in Heaven and all the great times with my sister my family and all of my friends. God Bless you..
I am so thankful someone else loves my mountains as I do! Thank God for a little town that a person can still walk the streets without worrying about getting mugged! Thank God for a little town where everyone knows everyone! I am thankful you were able to capture the beauty of these mountains in your writing! Thank you!
I throughly Enjoyed the journey your Writings about Grungy Virginia , that afforded me to
Sit back and relive the times I was blessed to have Driven through with Awe &
Inspiration. Becky you are a gifted writer . I felt as if I were Right ‘ there’ in your
Experience of Having been blessed to know what you , know about Grundy.
I shall have to make it a point to personally travel around That V ‘ shaped Road once
Again. Thank you & May God bless and keep you & yours, Always~
Thank you again for writing such refreshingly , insightful , heartfelt Sentiments .
~ < 3 ~
Victoria Susan Baldwin ~ X
Thank you for writing this so wonderfully, I was born and raised in Grundy till I was 9 then to Abingdon. Now in big cities in TN for 16yrs.. This article really bought back to me what I have been missing for way to long now. You are two different people when you are out in the world in big cities and when you are in Grundy. A more peaceful person, calmer person, loving person, God loving person, a people loving person.Some say I have been gone to long to still say Im from Grundy. But I will forever be from Grundy.
In the “Big Stone Gap” movie she says she wants to go out into the world and be and do things to the point she never wants to come back. Well all I can say about that is They (film makers) got it wrong YOU WILL ALWAYS WANT TO GO BACK. I am and always will be from Grundy.
My mother was born and raised in Grundy. I have visited there many times and I see several cousins have posted comments. 🙂 This eloquent piece, is a reminder the beauty of my mom isn’t the only thing wonderful about Grundy.
I left Grundy in 1977 the first time. I went back a couple times but when my parents divorced I was a mess. I really appreciate how you wrote this article. For someone that misses home as bad as I but can never return you sure gave me a good cry. Everyone needs a good cry now and then. Those hills have some of the best people on the face of the earth. They may not fit in if you take they to New York. But they would give you the shirt off their back and half their last meal. They know God will figure a way to get them another meal. You may not believe it but the one red light could back up traffic past hoot owl bridge in the 70s because the town was so busy. On Saturdays the streets were so crowded along with the stores you couldn’t find a place to park. I wish I could have raised my kids there. I had plenty of land. But my line of work I had to be in the city. Now my Grundy is gone and only a few people I know left there. I sure thank you for bringing back my memories. You nailed them.
Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *
© 2017 South Writ Large and individual contributors.
(SWL holds one-time web publication rights for each article.
Individual authors or rights holders retain all other rights.)