The Mountain Laurel
The Journal of Mountain Life

Visit us on FaceBookGenerations of Memories
from the
Heart of the Blue Ridge

My Floyd County Roots

By Gail Sutphin © 1988

Issue: April, 1988

Gail Sutphin's childhood home.Gail Sutphin's childhood home.It was a hot night in June 1946 when my parents, Tom and Pauline Bolt, had to go down Stuart Mountain in our '37 Chevy. I'm not sure if Dr. Thompson knew something by an unknown source or if it was a coincidence that he left town that night, but Dr. Akers, who happened to be on call that night, got the privilege of bringing me into this world. At any rate, sometime in the morning, a bouncing baby girl was born. My mother must have been sad because by her witness I was the ugliest baby born in our area that June. She brought me home anyway and kept right on taking care of me. I did have one trademark, however, that allowed people to comment about me without hurting my parent's feelings. My hair was so long that the nurses braided it into a pigtail when they brought me home from the hospital, so when they saw me they would say, "My what long hair she has!"

My brother Ledford, named for a fiddler my dad had heard, must have wondered what he had done to deserve all this added noise and confusion in his life because for all his four years he had been the soul attraction at our house.

Tom and Ledford Bolt.Tom and Ledford Bolt.Our home was a very small three room house sitting halfway up a big hill. Our heat, cooking and bathing were all done in the fetch and carry way, you fetched the wood and carried the water to be heated on the wood stove. The little rooms were quite sufficient when the weather was warm, the chickens would lay eggs under the floor and all we had to do to get eggs was raise up a board that was loose.

The winters, though, were a different story. We had to live, sleep, eat and whatever else we had to do in one room because we had never been introduced to such things as central heating, insulation, etc., so we figured it would be better to stick together, especially after our black cat's ears froze off one winter.

We all survived the years spent living on that mountain, which faced the ever popular Buffalo Mountain, none the worse for wear and, although I've long since left there, I am sure I will never feel as safe and protected as I felt in the years spent on our own private mountain.