My name is Allafair. At least that’s what my grandma Annie called me from as far back as I can remember. As a child, I never gave much thought to where our family came from. I heard all the stories about George Washington Watts and the rock houses at the Kentucky edge of the Appalachian mountains. We were told he and a band of explorers and their families were the first to venture over that very spot from Virginia in the late 1700s. I also wondered about who they left back in Virginia. Those people would still be our family, after all.
A family of Nobles – that was their last name, not their title – and a family of Watts made the trek here to our secluded Eastern Kentucky hollow. Knowing each other, they alone knew the circumstances and must certainly have trusted one another. How is it that we developed our customs and rituals, and why did it seem so necessary to stay blocked from the rest of the world?
I look at myself now in the mirror and see dark skin that deepens still every summer to the point my Grandma Annie would scold me to wear long sleeves and a bonnet.
“Allafair, you’re getting browner than a biscuit!” she was determined to keep me from looking like a biscuit.
Mommy plaited my black, coarse, curly hair nearly every day to make sure it didn’t look so unruly.
I look into those deep, brown eyes in the mirror and wonder who I see staring back. We didn’t think so at the time, but what a perfectly mesmerizing mixture.
I just had to delve into these mysteries. Perhaps, if I examine a slice of our life a little at a time, then answers could seep out month by month, task by task, and ancestor to ancestor.