The Mountain Laurel
The Journal of Mountain Life

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from the
Heart of the Blue Ridge

Growing Up On Tuggles Creek - Toledo Blade

By YKW © 1984

Issue: November, 1984

(Editor's Note: Tuggles Creek is located in the Heart of the Blue Ridge Mountains, near the tiny mountain community of Meadows of Dan, Virginia. Meadows of Dan is a crossroads community where US Highway 58 Business and the Blue Ridge Parkway cross. Mabry Mill is north about 1.6 miles and Mayberry Trading Post is about 2.8 miles south on the Blue Ridge Parkway.)

The only newspapers I can remember us taking were the "Toledo Blade" and the "Atlanta Constitution." We sometimes bought a "Grit" from a local newsboy. The "Grit" had a big news section and a short story section, some few of which I can still remember.

When I was just about 6 or 7 years old, the Atlanta Constitution ran a serial of Edgar Rice Burroughs, "Tarzan of the Apes." I could hardly wait for the next issue to arrive.

We would be seated around the fireplace on a winter evening right after supper and the dishes were cleared away. Dad sat next to the kitchen stove which had cooled down enough to allow a kerosene lamp to sit on it and read the current episode of Tarzan.

I sat right next to him so I wouldn't miss a word. The others probably busied themselves with other things, my sisters with schoolwork, mother with sewing or quilt work and grandma knitting in the corner.

I could see my hero, Tarzan, swing easily through the tree tops while I was trying to figure out just how he did it. It was quite a disappointment in later years when I saw Buster Crabbe, Johnny Weissmuller and others playing Tarzan in the movies to see that they were almost as subject to the law of gravity as we were. They usually just grabbed a convenient vine and swung right down to the ground.

But the memory of those evenings around the fireplace with all my family (and Tarzan) still lingers among my fondest recollections.