Carl Kiilsgaard (Western Kentucky University)
The residents of 700 Loves Branch hollow have in Whitesburg, Ky., for generations. Since moving from their former home in Bucks Creek hollow after a fire, the White/Collins family does the best they can to hold on to their existing life structure. Richard White, his wife Tammie, their three children, Tammieâ€™s brother James Jones, and Richardâ€™s nephew Derrick Collins all live together in a mobile home. Richard, James, and Derrick make meager earnings selling narcotics, doing odd jobs, and exchanging scrap metal at the junkyard. All the family members rely on welfare to make ends meet.. Despite the negative influences of drugs and a social system built to fail, the family bond is strong. Each member of the family helps each other in any way possible. As each uncertain day unfolds, the one constant in the strength of kin. (All names changed upon subjects request)
James Jones and Derrick retrieve cock-fighting roosters from the car. The twosome unsuccessfully attempted to sell the birds. Despite not making any money the pair enjoyed each otherâ€™s company.
Richardâ€™s oldest children, Hailey, 6, and Bobby, 4, enjoy the freedom that living in hollow allows them. After getting home from school the pair can often be found outdoors playing in the streams that run near their mobile home.
Working on his 1987 Chevrolet Camaro, with brother-in-law James, Richard pauses to take drag of his cigarette. The family spends lots of its time outdoors working on the various cars they acquire. After fixing them, crashing them, or just getting bored of them, the cars are usually bartered with neighbors or other family members for a new vehicle.
Using a lighter in place of a lost flashlight, Richard unscrews the back part of a washing machine at a friendâ€™s house. The part was then taken back to his mobile home where Richard installed it on his washing machine that hadnâ€™t been working for over a month.
Claude, Richard and Tammieâ€™s newborn baby, suffers from a lack of blood circulation, which was supposedly caused by Tammieâ€™s cigarette use during pregnancy. Here, Richard and Tammie attempt to warm Claudeâ€™s cold arms by blowing hot air on them and pressing on them.
As a main source of family income the marijuana fields, grown by Richard, James, and Derrick, are closely monitored and attended to through out the entire year. The season starts in early spring when the seeds planted, summer is spent watching the plants grow and watering them, and in the fall the harvest comes. A typical harvest can yield the family thousands of dollars, usually the most money they will earn throughout the year.
Richard, Derrick, and friend Channing, roll marijuana joints in the back bedroom of the mobile home. Being known drug dealers, Richard and Derrick often arm themselves with the protection of knives or pistols.
Derrick and his girlfriend, Cheryl Jenkins, snuggle together on the couch. Despite a six-year difference in age, Derrick is 17 while Cheryl is 23; the two have plans to get married in December and start a family of their own.
In the home of another family member, Richard gets into an argument with a man he sold marijuana to earlier in the evening. The man felt that he was ripped off and when he confronted Richard about this, a heated argument insued.
Taking a break from working on his Camaro, Richard fixes Haileyâ€™s bike while getting a hand from his son Bobby and other kids from up the hollow. Odd jobs and fixing things are a common occourance around the White household. Richard had this to say about it, â€œMy hands are the best things I got. Without them I couldnâ€™t do nothing.â€?
With windows tinted, Derrick makes a quick glance backwards before peeling out of the local grocery store. A routine trip to the store usually includes requests for coffee, cigarettes, ice cream, rolling papers, and corn dogs.
In the early morning Derrick cradles his three-week-old nephew Claude, nicknamed â€œlilâ€™ Bubbyâ€?. The children, and when appropriate adults, rarely go by their first names. Instead they adhere to a naming scheme in which boys receive a variation of â€œBubber,â€? which can include the prefix little or big. The girls receive the same treatment only with the names Sissy, with the suffix of boo, bub, or pie.