Jonesborough Town & Country 1930's & 40's

On August 28 at the International Storytelling Center, the Yarn Exchange Radio Show willharlan miners with child miner perform a live show filled with true-life local and regional stories stretching back to the days of the Great Depression. The performance tells of what life was like in Downtown Jonesborough, as well as in mining towns and coalfields in Southwest Virginia and Kentucky. Countering the “town” stories will be tales from out in the county, where families lived off of the land, where electricity and plumbing didn’t come until mid-century, and where a necessary self-reliance fueled a tough and independent spirit that endures today.

 

The stories in the performance come from people in this region who have been interviewed as part of Jonesborough’s story initiative. Those stories are then scripted into a one-hour program that is performed by local actors. Stories for this program also come from an oral history project led by the Daughters of the American Revolution, and feature memories captured from Mary Nell Bacon Roberson, Alfred Greenlee, Shirley Meade, Virginia Maden, John B. Shanks, Jr., Becky Poteat Simms, and many more. They provide a glimpse into life on Main Street when horses were more in fashion than cars; they recall the expansion of Main Street, and remember when it once ended at 2nd Street and how the road connecting it to 11-E changed life as they knew it in Jonesborough.

 

Jonesborough main street 1930sOthers remember the coming of electricity in the late forties and fifties out in the county; the fortitude it took to live off of the land; and for some, like the Bean family, and in particular, Russell Bean, how hard living sometimes hardened the heart, as recalled by his eight-times great-grandson, Jonathan Edens.

 

There are also hilarious tales of switching places, much like the old story of the Town Mouse and the Country Mouse, and what these people had to do to adapt to their new environments.

 

Joining the Yarn Exchange this month will be their musical guests, the David Crockett Madrigal app ohoto old jonesboroughSingers, under the direction of Kelly Sams. This premier choir represents their school at invitational events throughout Washington County and the state. Last year, they were invited to sing the National Anthem at the 29th Lifesavers Conference in Murfressboro, TN, sponsored by the Tennessee Highway Safety Office. The Madrigals have performed as part of ETSU’s spring choral events, and have been part of Jonesborough’s Christmas Tree Lighting event for many years. This will be their first performance on the radio show.

 

The live production of this radio show will take place August 28, 7pm, at the International Storytelling Center. Tickets are $5, and may be purchased online at https://townofjonesborough.thundertix.com/events or by calling the Historic Visitors Center at 423-753-1010. Seating is limited, and reservations are suggested. For more information, contact Yarn Exchange director Jules Corriere at 423.794.6320.

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