Courier Letters to the Editor 10-1-14

In response to Cloer’s articles

Dear Editor,

Unlike Dr. Thomas Cloer Jr., I was not a child of a nomadic family in Appalachia. I was born in the Matheson Cove in Clay County, N.C., a few years before the young Tom Cloer arrived in Clay County with his family. The Cove is where my parents had settled in about 1936, after having started their lives together in Tusquittee in 1927. In 1938, I was born as the seventh child in a family that would in time become a family of six daughters and five sons.

The similarities with my language and Dr. Tom’s “home-rooted language” that he shared in one of his “Lifestyles” articles (Jan. 22) in your Pickens County Courier are very meaningful to me!

His heartfelt honesty about his unadulterated Appalachian way of speaking makes me remember, with slightly sad recollections, of how I struggled in my early years of schooling. The isolation and difficulty in speaking plainly were perhaps my greatest impediments. Of course, being hesitant to even speak or read aloud in class may have kept me out of trouble with my teachers.

When I was a very young student, it seemed to me that our teachers showed a preference toward children of “town folk” who spoke plainly and dressed in “store-bought” clothes. We were obviously among the “backwoods” students. But my mother, who had dropped out of school when she was in the third grade, did not entertain any excuse I tried to offer for not doing well in school. She expected the best effort from me! It did not matter that I had to study in our cold kitchen by a dim oil lamp.

I recently had the opportunity to read Dr. Cloer’s article “Looking for the Roots of Literacy” in your newspaper.

Surely many students will have read his delightful “Lifestyles” articles and be inspired to be stronger students. Then his work will have served an exceedingly great purpose. I thank you and Dr. Cloer for the wonderful coverage regarding learning.

Eva Nell Mull Wike, Ph.D.

Oak Ridge, Tenn.