2001: REMEMBERING COON FORK - A Suburb of Hur

Coon Fork

By Veronica Marks Nagy 2001

This walk is longer than I remember. I should be there by now. One more hill and I am sure it's just around the next turn. I remember now. There's the big tree stump. I should be able to see the house now. Where is it? I know at least the porch should be in view. The closer I get the more I can see that the house is not there. Why would they tear down the house? I keep looking to see what else is missing--the barn, the chicken house, the gate, Oh no, the apple tree. I feel as if a page out of my life has been torn out.

There were four houses in this holler. Each had a significant character of its own. Our house, the only one with electricity and a telephone, made it the gathering place for all the neighbors. Even though we lived here a short time, the best memories of my childhood remain here.

This isn't what I expected. I want to walk through those same steps as when I was nine years old. Everything is gone. I wished I had never come back here. It surely hasn't been that long for it to change this much.

I remember the house well, with rickety steps leading up to small front porch and the back porch large and all screened in, great for our summer canning. I remember opening the gate that separated our property and being so proud that I was the only one of us five kids that could get it open. Counting the eggs in the hen house was my favorite chore, though occasionally removing a Banty hen from her nest could be difficult. The barn was interesting., always filled with fresh smelling hay and a floor of squishy black muck. The first time I climbed up into the hay loft and looked down, I got so scared that Dad had to come get me. One of our most favorite places to be was under or in that big apple tree with its branches spaced exactly the right distance apart, making it perfect for climbing right to the top. Building playhouses out of large rocks and sticks on the countryside was another one of our favorite pass times.

There were hard times too, A homemade drag had to be hitched to a team of horses to work the road to make it passable for a car. The dreaded outhouse had a hornet's nest , big black spiders, and sometimes a snake hanging from the rafters. The long-handled pump on the back porch always froze in the winter, forcing us to melt snow for water. We had a two mile walk to catch the school bus every day and changed pants and shoes in the bus house to prevent the kids at school from seeing the mud up to our knees. I remember carrying water to fill up a #2 wash tub for a bath each week and washing clothes every Saturday on our wringer washing machine.

Going back to Coon Fork is really kind of sad for me, yet it has a calming effect to find that you can tear down the house and cut down the trees, but you can't take away the memories.

The dreaded outhouse

Road leading up narrow Coon Fork

Fred Jarvis house on Coon Fork

Mouth of the hollow where about eight families now live