Believe it or not, I actually had people at BlogHer, when presented with my cards that read "Confessions of a Coal Miner's Granddaughter," ask me Are you really a coal miner's granddaughter?
Really? You actually think that I would pull some crazy name for a blog like that out of my ass and not actually be the granddaughter of a coal miner? If I was going to pull a stunt like that, wouldn't I just call this blog "Confessions of a Coal Miner's Daughter?" I mean, if I'm going to fake a coal mining reference for the title of my blog, why not just hang onto the coat tails of Loretta Lynn. Right?
My grandfather was a coal miner for the Kingston Pocahontas Coal Company in Kingston, West Virginia, a tiny little town overlooking Paint Creek. Unfortunately, Kingston no longer exists except in the hearts and minds of the people who lived and loved there. Grandpa Frank was also a fiddle and guitar player who loved to play any gospel or bluegrass song he could remember. In fact, his fiddle sits next to me as I type this. I never knew him (he passed five years before my birth) but I like to think that I inherited his musical inclinations and love of bluegrass. If I could go back in time, I would find him and have a fiddle/hammered dulcimer jam session.
His father's and grandfather's surnames were Scarborough, like the town in England. Both Levi and Issiac Scarborough were coal miners as well and when working for the New River Company in Scarbro, West Virginia, had their names changed by the coal company. Scarborough was too difficult to spell. Scarbro was easier. So, even my maiden name was determined by King Coal.
My Grandpa Frank and Grandma Sally are buried in South Charleston, West Virginia, but the rest of my Scarbro relatives can be found on a hillside, not far from Kingston, overlooking Paint Creek. When the coal company mined out one mountain in particular, they handed it over to the families to bury their loved ones. It's there that my father and uncle found their final resting places. Oh, and cousin Penny's leg. But that's a whole other story.
Being a native West Virginian, from a coal mining family, is part of who I am and I wanted to include that as part of my blog identity. Incidentally, I suppose I could have also named this blog Confessions of a...
But the night I started this blog, nearly two years ago, I was watching Coal Miner's Daughter and had just recently found a box full of old Scarbro family pictures. Grandpa Frank's photo jumped out at me and I knew he had to be up there, in the banner of my blog, welcoming my readers.
So, there you have it. Yes, I'm actually the granddaughter of a West Virginia coal miner.
And no, I'm not married to my cousin.