The response to my recent series on women in the environmental movement has been overwhelming. My inbox has been full of emails from women from West Virginia, Tennessee and Kentucky. One particular email touched me so much that I got the writers permission to use it in this post.
I had the honor of talking to Dixie Morgan on the phone yesterday for nearly an hour. Dixie is a wonderful woman with a big heart and a great sense of humor. She had me laughing so hard at times I cried. Especially when she referred to herself as blue haired and crotchety. Crotchety is just funny because it sounds wrong!
Dixie spoke with me about all she now wants to do to help spread the word about Mountaintop Removal Mining. I know she will accomplish everything she sets out to do. This is one determined, sweet, honest, blue haired, crotchety old woman! Here is Dixie’s story in her own words.
Subject: appalachian women
Date: Mon, 19 Jul 2010 13:51:17 -0400
My name is Dixie Morgan. I am 64 years old and live in Fayette County, West Virginia. I read your wonderful columns on Appalachian women in the environmental movement. Thank you so much for writing these beautiful stories. I am a widow, my husband passed away of cancer, be 3 years in August. Our two kids are grown and living in different states.
I have always hated mountaintop removal mining, but never gave speaking out about it much thought, because as you wrote, I thought my one old voice ain’t gonna matter none. I also figured what can one 64 year old year old woman do anyway. I got two bad knees ate up with arthritis so I can’t stand for too long. Much like Vicky Terry I live like a hermit with my dogs. I talk to my kids everyday, but mostly just keep to myself, minding my own if you will.
I had seen so much bad in the world that, like Vicky I had given up on people.
I read your three columns and I decided I am tired of being alone. I believe mountaintop removal mining is wrong in every way. Maybe nobody cares what this old woman has to say, but they are going to hear it. There’s lots of us old folks out there that think mountaintop removal mining is wrong, but we think that we are too old and nobody will listen to us.
Saturday I went down to the Senior Center for lunch. I had not done that since my Harvey passed. I saw a lot of old friends and after we caught up I brought up mountaintop removal mining. We ‘old biddies’ as my daddy called blue haired ladies, all had the same thoughts and feelings on the subject. After a bit of haggling we decided we should meet at the Center once a week to discuss petitions we can sign and are all joining Facebook, so we can keep in touch with you and see what we can do to make a difference. We have even decided to take a bus to Washington so we can be there for the Appalachia Rising event.
When I returned home, I decided to email you and say thank you. My heart feels much lighter now and I am not going to hide away in this old house no more. We are going to take turns meeting at each others houses and sharing computers so we can sign petitions. Can you tell me where the best place to find petitions is?
I read in your biography that you run an organization called the Friends of the Mountains I would much like to talk to you about joining that. I want you to tell Maria Gunnoe, Deborah Deatherage and Vicky Terry that they helped change a old woman’s way of thinking. They are mighty special women and I wish them the best life has to offer.
My phone number is x-xxx-xxx-xxxx please call me when you have a minute and tell me what my friends and I can do to make difference. Thank you again Tammy for these beautiful stories that touched my life in such a way that it will never be the same again.