Jason emailed to say they were traveling in the area, visiting places of reported ghost sightings. Now you know when someone tells you that, you're just naturally intrigued! I invited them to make our place a stop on their journey.
Matt and Jason grew up in Pendleton County, West Virginia, in one of the state's most remote areas. Their lives are measured by the great flood of 1985 that decimated so many communities in eastern West Virginia. For Jason and Matt, all events are referenced as being "before the flood" or "after the flood."
Being raised in such a remote area, the brothers have a cast of colorful family members that star in the many stories they tell. These guys don't bill themselves as professional storytellers, but they certainly could rival the best with their tales of life in the back country. in the photo above, Matt is telling a story about "Uncle Fudgy." I can't retell it, you just had to be there.
Shirley's upbringing in southern West Virginia provided her with her own store of stories to tell. Passionate about mountaintop removal, Shirley's book, Bringing Down The Mountains, was published last fall by WVU Press. Just knowing that she wrote that book made me love her from the start. But her wit and sly humor completely endeared her to me. It was icing on the cake to learn that she also sings ballads. We didn't sing on this visit, but I'm looking forward to the next.
What impressed me so much with these young people is that all three came from a background with few resources. But their intelligence and determination propelled them through degree programs at West Virginia University.
Still country at heart, they bring the depth and breadth of education to understanding who they are and where they come from. They love their home, are committed to their state, and are eloquent and entertaining when they share their journey in fascinating, entertaining and thoughtful conversation and writing.
To see a little of Jason and Matt's homeplace, visit Jason's blog. And for information on West Virginia ghosts and paranormal occurrences, Jason's website, West Virginia Spectral Heritage, is outstanding.
I can't wait to have them visit again. And I owe them a jar of jam--I forgot to give it to them when they were here. Shame on me!