Creek Water Press, Publisher of Appalachian Tales, recently announced a book by Ripley native, Christy Wolfe.
Wolfe, a 1985 graduate of Ripley High School and RHS Alumni Scholarship recipient, started writing stories a few years ago. At the time, she said she was listening to a podcast called “A Tiny Sense of Accomplishment” in which the author co-hosts were commenting on how few stories are written by Appalachian authors and how the stores that are written are often negative.
Wolfe said as she reflected on that statement, she agreed those negative stories were not hers. This led her to write her own stories on Appalachia.
Starting out with just three stories, she let friends read them and provide their opinion.
“Several fellow high school graduates really enjoyed them,” she said.
Fast forward to the COVID-19 pandemic and a three-week furlough, Wolfe said she decided to use the time to escape to her memories. From this time, seven more stories were written, the last two finished after she had gone back to work.
Wolfe is the daughter of a small-town valedictorian and working mom, who had three children without the benefit of maternity leave; the daughter of a farm boy and small business owner, who dropped out of high school and faked his age to join the workforce; and granddaughter to a quintessential homemaker, a deep-pit coal miner, and mule-plowing farmers.
Wolfe’s book is a collection of nonfiction short stories. Bright-Eyed and Barefoot is a humorous and touching memoir of growing up with little money and even less adult supervision. These stories show the independence, creativity, and resilience of an Appalachian girl, and her siblings and friends, who were charged with looking out for her. At a time when American working parents, living both in small towns and down country roads, were transfixed by world events and economics, their children–like Christy–were busy decorating bicycle banana seats and jumping off ropes into swimming holes.
Bright-Eyed and Barefoot shares funny and tender memories of hiding in cattle pens, spinning 45s, watching car races, riding horses, and climbing trees; as well as other tales of growing up in the 1970s and 1980s between the banks of the Ohio River and the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains. Each story, organized by theme, shares insight into the culture of people at a place and time that can be revisited only through the memories of those who lived it.
“Readers find things in them to identify with that I did not anticipate,” Wolfe said. “The stories take people back to their youth and time spent with family and friends. The stories are lighthearted and capture the simple beauty of growing up in the country and in a small town.”
According to Wolfe, the outside world tends to focus on the negative. Her hope is that Bright-Eyed and Barefoot will show the positive.
Readers can join author Christy Wolfe for online book talks. Participants will view photos from the stories of Bright-Eyed and Barefoot at these show-and-tell discussions. Various stories will be discussed at the upcoming events.
• Nov. 8 at 2 p.m. - Grandma’s House; Horse Crazy; The Secret of Underwear; Hometown Holidays
• Dec. 6 at 2 p.m. - Maypoles and Saucer Sleds; Play Me a Tune; Mileage and Maintenance; Worn Shoes
Free tickets are available at eventbrite.com/e/bright-eyed-and-barefoot-show-and- tell-by-christy-wolfe-tickets-119844844155