Tuesday, June 23, 2009

More Journalists Seek Recession Along West Virginia Route 219

It's beginning to look like our part of West Virginia is a required stop on Washington D.C.-based journalism's "2009 Poverty Road Tour." Last week, "The Atlantic Monthly" visited Hillsboro, while the Sunday Washington Post hit West Virginia a few miles south of us, in Union, WV. They report: 'Country' Folk Say Hard Times Not So Tough a Row to Hoe.

The Post's account is archived in their Half a Tank Blog: Half a Tank is part of a summer-long quest to find the stories of lives altered by a flattened economy. Reporter Theresa Vargas and photographer Michael Williamson left Washington June 1 to cross the country and post a daily online journal of the characters and scenes they encounter. If you're looking for a recession road trip, I would recommend this one over the rather amateurish blog that mentioned Hillsboro. Here's a quote.

It's hard to tell whether Union has been slapped more softly by the recession or if its residents are just able to grin and bear it more than elsewhere....

When Michael and I spoke to most people here about the economy, they described subtle changes between their pre-recession and post-recession lives.

"We're country boys," said Robert Ferguson, 90, a World War II veteran who well remembers the Depression. "We can survive better than these city boys when something like this happens."

City folks, said Oswale Yates, 86 and also a World War II veteran, "wouldn't know which end of the hoe to get hold of. We live more simple. In other words, we don't live as high on the hog as some people."

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