Highway 23

The Trail to Magic Land

Times were good in the mountains of home.  But part of being good was having nothing to compare it to.

Twenty-five cents an hour was good when it bought two hotdogs, fully-loaded, and a drink to boot.  And all the guys I worked with made the same twenty-five cents an hour.  My mountain home was tight and warm, and I knew all the people of the village- never alone.  I was satisfied—until

I heard of the fabulous wealth in the distant cities of the north.  Pittsburg, Cleveland, D.C., Lexington,

And then

Detroit City.

We all had a relative in Detroit.  No phone- we all wrote letters in those days.  The letters told of hourly wages I had never dreamed of.

How to get there? Where to stay? Then my Aunt and Uncle went that way.  Now I had a place to stay.  I was 14- 15 maybe- and I went along with Grandad to move his only daughter to Detroit where her husband had landed a job at Dodge Motor Co. (big money).  I rode the whole way in the back of a pick-up truck-the Clampets- wasn’t that the Appalachian Way?

The road to Detroit-

The road to Magic Land

The road- a mysterious experience- awesome

Highway 23, no interstate,

It curved out of Kingsport and warped over

The mountain and up along the river into

And right through Gate City, VA

The names thrilled me.

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