Saturday, August 22, 2009
THE APPALACHIAN POPULATIONS OF THE WASHINGTON CASCADES – PART IV -
We hope that there will be additional opportunities to visit these Cascade families and learn more about their lives. As we have indicated, though, they may be a dying subculture, because the influx of new families from Appalachia has dried to a trickle and the timber industry is in the tenth year of a depression. The children of these families have also been much more willing to use education as a ticket to the world outside. It was a point of pride to our informants that their children had all completed high school. Many had gone to college. In the process they learned the skills that made them employable in the thriving communities along Puget Sound. The land as homeplace has not seemed to exert as strong a pull on these Western Appalachians -- perhaps because their ancestors had already broken roots in going to Washington in the first place, partly because the outdoors is in the heritage of everyone in the state and is not lost just because one moves to the city. At any rate, the towns we visited were no longer prosperous, if indeed they ever had been, and they could no longer keep their younger residents from looking longingly elsewhere. Fifty years after Clevinger's first studies, we could still find these Cascade Appalachians, but someone looking for them in another fifty years may very well find that they have disappeared into the general population. Before they do disappear, however, we think there is much more they may be able to tell us, not only about their present lives in Washington, but about the Appalachia they left behind.