In this oral history interview excerpt, Stan Hyatt comments on the value of passing down traditions, especially those that lead to self-sufficiency. He describes the people of Madison County, North Carolina and remarks upon their incredible self-sufficiency.
Yes, I think it's important that we pass down all the traditions that we possibly can. I asked my kids, and they think it's funny when I ask them this question. I try to get them - or did when they were younger - try to get them to go out and help me garden. And there's some work in gardening, having to dig and prune, and spray, and all that stuff you do gardening, plant things. I said, "Well, what would happen if the economy got bad again? Like, I've seen it when I was real little, or even worse before I was born. What would happen if that happened today and you couldn't go over to Ingles in Mars Hill and buy bread and milk and so forth, what would you do?" I don't want to be pessimistic or a forecaster of doom coming in the future, but to me that's a valid question. That was, I guess, something my grandmother and others instilled in me. You have to be knowledgeable enough to take care of yourself and not depend on everybody else to lay things in your lap.
I think it's good to be in a place where you can be, depend on yourself, too. Not every place is like that.
I think Madison County, North Carolina has got to be up at the top of the list. I've met people over there, I have a neighbor that can sit down and make wagon wheels from scratch. I have people that can - they're carpenters, they're plumbers, they're automobile mechanics. They can do anything. I'm not that gifted myself. I don't want to mislead you and you think that I am, but these people in Madison County, because it was so shut in for so long and isolated somewhat geographically and by the road situation from the rest of the world, they learned to survive. I'm convinced that the older people over here could do just about anything to make a living if everything collapsed economy-wise and everything, and that to me is a very valuable thing to be able to do. They could make it. I feel like that a lot of people in the cities that have all the conveniences today, if we ever went into bad economic times, they would really suffer.
"All rights reserved" is a traditional copyright term that indicates that the copyright holder reserves for his/her/their own use all of the rights given to copyright owners under U.S. copyright law. Items that are included in NCpedia and/or ANCHOR with this rights statement appear by agreement or permission from the rights holder or the institution that holds the item. Click "Available at" to visit the website for the collection where the item appears for more information about the rights or specific uses allowed.