People like controversy because that’s what sells. Miley Cyrus
Reading this article written by a London, Kentucky millennial struck a chord today. The blog post was not lost on thousands of London natives, who took to the internet to voice their concerns about inaccuracies contained in the piece.
This young author described an impoverished holler in Eastern Kentucky who’s economy is fueled by methamphetamine and bail bonds, those who escaped were merely thrown a lifeline by a high school counselor, only if they survive the final challenge: the commencement walk across a rickety stage threatening to collapse any moment. She sought refuge in the bright lights, big city of Lexington, Kentucky, a whole hour and some change away from London.
Was this really London, Kentucky, the place I grew up? The place friends from high school and I meet up at Cheddars, the same London I remember cruising the shopping center parking lot in high school? The same London housing Levi Jackson State Park, flourishing businesses and successful farms, a large hospital and a host of restaurants whose existence can be justified by a certain per-capita income?
Speaking of income, the author discusses London as one of the poorest towns in Kentucky. From Sperlings Best Places, The income per capita is $17,871, which includes all adults and children. The median household income is $30,671. The national poverty income level is $12,000 or less per year.
London was the town from which I graduated high school, a mere fifteen years ago. I graduated with a 4.0 GPA and took most of the advanced placement classes offered. Many of my classmates did the same. The class of 1999 boasts doctors, nurses, attorneys, paralegals, corporate executives, small business owners, teachers, farmers, musicians, a vast array of professions. Some of us moved away, but many returned to the charm of London. The author discusses the low quality of education at her high school… I would have thought education would only improve after fifteen years… Unless her description was purely embellished.
This song immediately came to mind after reading because we have to remember, the author IS only nineteen. Nineteen with a semi-viral, at least controversial enough to make older folks blood boil, popular internet posting.
Rolf :You wait, little girl, on an empty stage
For fate to turn the light on
Your life, little girl, is an empty page
That men will want to write on..
Liesl: To write on..
You are sixteen going on seventeen
Baby, it’s time to think
Better beware, be canny and careful
Baby, you’re on the brink
The article by this young college sophmore was articulate but, painted a very negative portrait of MY town. Perhaps her entire childhood and adolescent experience was not positive so her memories are jaded. Bob Ross said “Look around. Look at what we have. Beauty is everywhere—you only have to look to see it.”
Even the drive down the interstate is breathtaking. (Photo courtesy of my passenger). As you can see, London is a town along the main vein of Interstate 75, a long stretch of road that runs from the Canadian border in Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan down to Miami Lakes, Florida, spanning several states north to south.
Now, I had to look up EXACTLY how “holler” is defined, for fear of all the “sanctimommies” out there. A holler is “a small rising valley region between two hills or mountains, often containing a creek.” By that definition, most of the south eastern region of the United States is a holler, so technically shouldn’t be a defaming term.
My fellow Kentucky blogger, Jessica Bray, wrote this rebuttal . She uses real and current statistics of London to disprove some of the elements of “How I Broke the Endless Cycle of Poverty Meth and Jail in Rural Kentucky. ” Everyone needs to read her post! And while you’re at it, join the discussion on our Facebook page!
“You’ve got to know when to hold ’em
Know when to fold ’em
Know when to walk away
Know when to run
You never count your money
When you’re sittin’ at the table
There’ll be time enough for countin’
When the dealin’s done.”