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Appalachia Through My Eyes - An Elder Shares Her Wisdom

My life in appalachia - An Elder Shares Her Wisdom 

Mildred Johnson shares her memories and her wisdom with 8th Graders at The Learning Center!  I think all students could benefit from lessons from their elders.


Appalachia Through My Eyes - A series of photographs from my life in Southern Appalachia.

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The Elders, The Wisdom Keepers, What a wonderful Subject.Oh how i miss my grandparents and their wonderful teachings.
Grandmother Joy

Mildred Johnson is and always will be a pillar of strength, wisdom, gentleness, and courage. Her giggle will make anyone smile and her compassion, loyalty and endurance are only matched by her love of her family, mountains and her dedication to both....I know this because I am proud to say she is my Grandma Johnson.... I love you.

Jen and Mike


Thanks for this wonderful story/blog. Fortunately for us, there are still a lot of Mildred's out there ... and it would be to our benefit to love them, listen to them, and learn from them ... while they're still with us.

The Foxfire project did (does?) a lot to get kids interested in collecting the stories their elders have to tell.

Tipper - Ain't been reading but just a few moments and now I am jealous of Ken! I would love to have known Mildred as he says he does! Wisdom of the older people is a thing of great value. I would thoroughly enjoy listening to one of her presentations!

Hearing what your readers have said about her makes me want to know more.

Once I had a boss man that was telling me something that makes me think of Mildred. He said, "You know son, something I have noticed about myself and just about everybody is this....the older a person ( especially boys ) gets the smarter his Daddy becomes. Now, ain't that the truth?

I loved this topic Tipper!


Mildred Johnson, aka Mama J, is my grandmother. Thank you for honoring her and her heritage today. You have made her day and mine. She is a one-of-a-kind lady and one of the greatest influences in my life. Thankfully, I have this speech on tape and can share it with my children when they grow up!

Tipper--There's an adage historian's sometimes use which says: "You can know hwere you are going if you don't know where you have been." It is so true, and even though I have a keenly developed sense of where I have been, at least in comparison with the average person, I daily lament the fact that I didn't, as a boy, pay sufficient heed to the likes of Mildred Johnson. I could have talked with Granville Calhoun, the man who literally saved Horace Kepahrt's life; could have listened to the hunting experiences of "Bear Hunter" Watkins; could have watched and listened to perhaps the most famous of all mountain fly tyers, Fred Hall; and so much more.
Fortunately I did spend a great deal of time with my Grandpa Joe, and he was a flowing fount of old mountain ways, complete with all the attributes of a man who epitomized "quare."
I just wish I knew some way to convey to youngsters the importance of listening to and learning from thos who have gone before.
As Pap and Paul sing, "younger days will pass you by," and those fortunate few take advantage of them while they can.

Jim Casada

If only the kids would listen to their elders, they could save so much heartache and worry!!!!!!! What I would give to go back and write it all down as my grandparents were telling it all to me!

What a wonderful opportunity to learn something about times past, I always enjoyed listening to my Great Aunt Polly, she was 93 when she died and some of the stories she would tell were fascinating. I started typing them into my laptop while she was talking to preserve her memories.


I know Mildred Johnson and she is
a wonderful, soft lady who can
capture your interests when she
speaks. Besides being my aunt's
best friend, she lives and loves
to tell about the hardships of
how things once were. Mildred is
one strong lady cause after her
husband passed, her son later
became ill and had to be in a
nursing home and for many years
she never missed being there to
feed her son, right up to the end.
I'm glad she's my friend...Ken

I always did like to be around older people when they told about the 'good ole days,' It's just too bad I didn't always think about their advice -which caused many a hard learned lesson.

Amen, Tipper! I think I'd give one year of whatever time I have left on this earth for just one more Sunday afternoon around the supper table listening to my grandparents reminisce! I learned more about life from that one afternoon a week than I did all week long in school!

Mildred is certainly a wise one. Thank you for introducing her to me!

I think it is wonderful that Ms. Johnson is allowed to speak at the school and share her wisdom. Shucks, I would've loved to be there and listen myownself...LOL
Why is it that when we are young, we just play and don't listen to our Grandparents old lessons and stories..I was lucky I was an evesdropper and gathered some info..But now today, how I wish I had talked openly with my Grandparents about there life and times and had the insight to write it down..What a treasure it would have been, at least for me..
Thanks Tipper

I agree! We can learn a lot from them.

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