I believe the work was difficult in the early 1960's. The factories were loud and hot. The work was repetitive and not as automated as it is now. I imagine every minute in the factory felt like hell.
The writer in me isn't as interested in working in the factories; I'm fascinated by what made my ancestors leave the hills, what kept them there for so many generations, and how hard it was living on the side of the mountain, one generation before the next. I try to imagine how difficult it was doing laundry without electricity, having families with six or seven children in a house the size of my living room, being a woman in that time period, surviving in terrible times when the mines were closed, working in the coal mine day after day until you get diagnosed with black lung and lose your ability to support your family, and how they dealt with miscarriages and illness.
I'm interested in the stories my great grandma told me while she made me fried chicken, homemade biscuits, and blackberry cobbler, stories of living in the hills with only a dog and a shotgun for protection. She told me she was part Cherokee, but didn't tell me how that affected her life and how people treated her. I wish I had asked.
I wonder about a woman named Jane Ann, my mother's great grandma, who was half Cherokee. I want to know who her parents were, how she came to be born, and how her life was when she was a child.