Pauline Ball

Interviewed by: Caitlin Stanley
Date of Interview: April 20, 2011
Interview Location: Ball's house in Pund Virginia

Caitlin Stanley reports:

"I chose to interview my nanny, Pauline Ball, because she is a true Appalachian woman and stays true to her home roots. She is an amazing Christian woman who cares for her family and friends more than anything. She is someone everybody considers as their “nanny” and she treats everyone the same. Although she doesn’t really have a bad Appalachian accent, I believe that she is a perfect example of someone from the Appalachians who loves where she comes from and wouldn’t trade it for the world."

Question: When and where were you born?

Ball: I was born on December 3rd, 1945 in Big Stone or Powell Valley whatever they call it today.

Question: What type of house did you grow up in?

Ball: Let’s see the first house was a very tiny house with only about three rooms in it, it was a pretty house but it definitely didn’t have enough room for all of us. The second house we lived in was pretty big and was just enough room for everybody.

Question: Where was your house located?

Ball: They were both in Pound. One on Mill Creek the other on South Fork.

Question: Which house was your favorite?

Ball: The first house was probably my favorite because I had more memories with everyone in it and it actually felt like home. The second was nice and all but I always missed the little house on Mill Creek.

Question: Where did most of the food you ate come from?

Ball: We had a couple little gardens that dad would try and tend to but we didn’t always have the best vegetables needless to say most of our stuff came from the market.

Question: What was it like growing up with seven brothers and sisters?

Ball: Hmm, it was fun. Sometimes I wished that I didn’t have my brothers because they would be so mean to me and Linda. But now I wouldn’t trade them for the world.

Question: Would you ever wish that you would have been an only child?

Ball: At some points in my life I would say “ if I was the only girl things would be different” but I knew that if I was the only girl I would be in trouble with Warren, Tim, and LeRoy. [laughs]

Question: How was your relationship with your siblings?

Ball: It was good for the most part. The only time I ever fought with my sisters was over clothes but hey doesn’t sisters [sic] still fight about that today? I always fought with my brothers but never meant any harm they just aggravated me twenty four seven.

Question: What about parents?

Ball: I always had a good relationship with my daddy. Me and mom fought all the time over until I got married and was out of their house. Man I wish I could go back now I would have never done anything to hurt her. When your mom or I am gone you will understand what I’m sayin. There’s nobody who will ever love you more than your own mother.

Question: How close were you to your grandparents?

Ball: : Both of my grandparents were gone when I was bout seven. From what I can remember I wasn’t around them much I do remember them makin me my first out of the box pizza. I thought it was the best thing ever made

Question: Were you closer with your grandparents then or grandchildren now?

Ball: Was that really a question? [laughs] Of course I am closer with you all. You’re my pride and joy id be lost without my grand babies.

Question: Did you enjoy your childhood?

Ball: Yes I loved being a child but then again that’s coming from an old woman right? [laughs]

Question: ?Why do you think you’re old nanny? You still look and act young. [laughs]

Ball: Well thanks caiti but I sure don’t feel young anymore.

Question: What type of schooling did you have?

Ball: I started school when I was like seven or eight I don’t remember real well. It was in a one room little building with a couple of grades together. Then I went to a bigger school kinda like what you went to in elementary school then went and graduated from Pound’s high school.

Question: How many years did you go?

Ball: Well whatever from seven to seventeen is so ten sounds about right.

Question: Did you play any sports? If so, what kind?

Ball: Oh no I didn’t play anything. I guess that’s why Jeff was my only athletic child and he didn’t get it from me. [laughs]

Question: Overall, how were your school years?

Ball: What’s that saying people say? It was real and fun but not real fun ha ha. No they weren’t bad I’d go back today and do it all over again if I could.

Question: Why didn’t you go to college? Do you regret it?

Ball: Well I graduated and had been datin your papaw for a few years and I was young and dumb so I got married got pregnant and had your mom. Things could have been much better if I would have went especially financially when your mom was growin up.

Question: What was your first job after graduating? What was it like?

Ball: I got a job at Pixies it was the place to be back in the day

Question: When did you first marry papaw?

Ball: I married your papaw on… let me think. August 22nd, 1964.

Question: What was your wedding like or did you have one?

Ball: We got married in this old church on South Fork. Same one your parents got married in as a matter of fact.

Question: How old were you when you had mom, Ginger and Jeff?

Ball: Well I was 18 when your mom was born, 21 with Jeff, and 23 with Ginger.

Question: How did the way you raised them differ from how we are raised today?

Ball: Back then nobody cared about seat belts and wearin shoes. Jeff hardly ever wore shoes when he was outside playin and none of us ever wore our seat belts. Back then everyone just kinda let their kids go they didn’t worry about anyone stealin them or abductin anyone. Things are so different now though. We’ve tried to keep all of you all on a tight leash with all the crazy people out there today.

Question: What was it like when you had your first grandchild?

Ball: My first grandchild would have been your sister. I was overwhelmed with joy, it wasn’t the same as when I had your mom, Jeff, and Ginger it was such an excitement. There’s no real words that can explain it.

Question: What about the last?

Ball: That’s Cam. I still got the same feeling with him just as I did with every single one of you. You all are what keep me going each and every day. You all are a blessing from God.

Question: How long have you lived in this area?

Ball: My whole life. So 65, but who’s countin.

Question: What did growing up in the Appalachians teach you about family and family values?

Ball: It’s taught me how to love and care for someone more than myself. I had realized what things are important and what’s not. I know that I don’t need anything fancy or anything special to get me from a to b. All I need is my family and friends that will keep me goin day to day. One day when you get my age you will realize how much this area will show and help you out. Nobody has a better life than us who live in the heart of the Appalachians.

Question: Would you have picked anywhere else to grow up if you could?

Ball: Lord no. I love it in Wise county. I was born and raised here and this is where I will die.

Question: What is the best advice you could give me about growing up and living here?

Ball: Never get down on yourself. Sometimes things can be hard for the people who live in such a small place. Know that God and your family is all you need to get by every single day.

Question: What is the biggest thing that has changed in the Appalachians since you have been here?

Ball: I would have to say the money. When I was growing up nobody cared who had the most money or who didn’t have money everyone was raised basically the same. But today there are some people who have more money than the others and they let it show. I don’t want to complain much though cause its better than all those who live in the city.

Question: What is one thing that the world could learn from growing up and living in Southwest Virginia?

Ball: : I believe the world could learn how much family should mean to you because when you get away from here not many families get together and do things. They may do a things with a couple of family members but not how we do it with everyone from everywhere.