“Kentucky…But with Carolina tendencies”

I started a 4 day trip this morning & as the Captain was giving me his briefing he asked me – “Where are you from? Where’d ya get that accent?”

People love guessing where I’m from but I was 98% sure I’d flown with this Captain before so I went with it – “Kentucky!” I said only responding with half my usual spiel.

“Which part? I’ll bet I can guess!” he says back.

“The Eastern tip…right before you hit West Virginia. It’s ,um, Pike County” I respond

Apparently that’s all he needed to remember me as well because he blurted out “YOU’RE FROM BELFRY!”

“Well Phelps/Freeburn but close enough and YOU have an aunt there…” I started

“THAT WAS A DOCTOR!” he says excitedly

“And a cousin…” I start again”

THAT’S STILL A DOCTOR THERE!” he finishes for me

It was the most Pike County meeting ever. I think everyone loves bumping into someone from their home town especially when it’s some place like where we’re from.

Pike County is by no means small. However, all the towns that make up the county are quite small. 

Anyways, just as I was answering the question of “Where’d you go to high school?” the gate agent came onboard to tell me that boarding was complete. 

Before I stepped out of the cockpit to begin my announcements to our guests the Captain asked one more question –

“How in the hell did you wind up here at ‘Sunshine Airlines’”? 

*I’m using a fake name here because you don’t need to know who I work for unless you already know*

I wanted to look at him and say “Well buddy I could ask the same of you!” but I didn’t because it was time to work. The question wasn’t asked for a serious answer but as the first of our three flights went on, I started thinking about it anyways – how in the hell did I end up here? Not at my airline exactly, but here, in the sky with my Karren who just walked me up a dish of pasta salad that she’d made us to eat while on our trip. This morning I was kissed on the forehead by the love of my life as he went to work only to turn around and kiss the other love of my life on her tiny little fluffy forehead as I left for work. I left our beautiful, safe home in the state that I love most & came to work with one of my best friends doing what I love most – flying & traveling.

How did a Pike County girl get so lucky? 

It could’ve went so differently.

I left Kentucky when I was 7. My parents chose to move to North Carolina – Alexander County. The smallest county in North Carolina. They moved for a fresh start in their marriage & for better jobs – our county in NC was known for furniture factories. They quickly got jobs at Bassett furniture – my mom stayed with Bassett until I was 18 years old. My dad…did not. I started school at Wittenburg Elementary & only went there for a year before we moved again to a neighboring town (same county) called Hiddenite. I lived in Hiddenite until we moved back to Kentucky after I graduated high school (Alexander Central, to answer the Captain’s question. Although it wouldn’t matter because he would have no idea where that was because he thinks I graduated in Kentucky) All of my formative years were spent in Hiddenite, North Carolina. When people ask me where I’m from I always say “Kentucky but I was raised in North Carolina”

Shriner’s Hospital
Me once I ditched the body cast
I truly have always been a huge nerd.

I thought there was nowhere better than North Carolina. I thought growing up there made me a more worldly human than if I would have grown up in Kentucky. This ,of course, is not true as my small town in NC is about as down home as you could ever get (not to mention worldly humans come from all walks of life) BUT you didn’t cross any mountains to get to Walmart like in Kentucky so clearly ,to a child, it was a thriving metropolis. It was bigger though & I do feel that growing up there gave me a far better shot at success than if we would’ve stayed in Kentucky. I’ve often wondered what would’ve happened if we’d never moved…would I have been okay growing up in Freeburn or Phelps, Kentucky? That area is both totally beautiful but bleak.

I moved back at 18 & felt sort of trapped at first.  However, if I would’ve stayed in Hiddenite, I would’ve been seriously trapped. You must choose your version of entrapment I suppose. I felt weird being in North Carolina then…life was total shit in my house at that point. I always say I’m transparent on the blog & don’t care to say whatever, but it’s not my place to out my parents’ business, however long ago that may have been. Life at home was awful. I didn’t feel safe there, to be honest. I didn’t go to college. I didn’t have a reliable car. I didn’t feel comfortable bringing friends or guys to my house. My only option was start applying to basic skill set jobs & get to work. I never dated except for 2 losers so I didn’t even have any relationship options that may bloom into anything.

I’d always felt like NC was the clear, superior choice for me but Kentucky ended up being fine. It sorta even saved me from my funk that I’d gotten myself in. The trapped feeling only lasted so long once I’d made some friends, met some guys, and worked my ass off. For a long time I worked 2 jobs (I actually still sorta do…flying, Uber Eats, & Instacart. I have a lot in life I want to do & gotta finance it somehow!!) My mom helped me get my beloved little Pontiac Sunfire that I drove the shit out of, then my ex drove the shit out of as his work car back & forth to Chicago, then we finally sold it to a college kid who I hoped also drove the shit out of it. Things started to get easier.

At one of my many jobs…Peebles department store

The Sunfire the day we bought it

I’ve lived in North Carolina again since…Charlotte, this time. Charlotte is a wonderful city & if I ever moved back to the Carolina’s, that’s where I’d go. I don’t see a lot of Carolina in me now but I still love it, it’s a fantastic place to raise a child because I personally feel that I had a great childhood there. I was raised around 3 great girls who were either my age or slightly older, they were all great friends to me (I was often the shit head brat, if you’re reading this…I’m sorry), we played outside & I never felt like we should’ve been concerned for our safety, & I went to good schools. I can’t knock it, really. As for Kentucky, while I love it & I’m proud to be a Kentucky girl, I couldn’t move back again. It IS hard to live there! It takes a strong, resilient type and while I feel that I’m both of those things, I like my conveniences!

I’m kinda lame because I rarely visit either of these places. I go to Kentucky more than North Carolina as I have no family left there plus the fact my mom is in Kentucky, she’s gonna win every time. I still talk to a few girls from high school on Facebook but it’s not like we’ve ever made plans to hang out so I just don’t go. I think about it sometimes – even back in 2020, Clinton & I are making the trek up to Kentucky to see my mom & Gary for Christmas & we spent a night in Asheville. I started getting giddy with anticipation seeing familiar road signs and I asked him “Would you mind when we leave tomorrow if we swing over to Taylorsville & Hiddenite? It’s only like 2 hours from here! I can show you where I grew up!” And of course he had no problem with that so that’s what we did! It was a quick passing through but we drove down Liberty Church road in Hiddenite & there on Tarheel lane was our old, brown, single wide trailer. The porch was still 2 different colors. I couldn’t believe it was still there & a functioning home for someone. I figured for sure the landlords would’ve hauled that bitch off somewhere. That was the first time I’d visited my home town since 2006.

But long story long, it’s that. That trailer, those trash boyfriends, the red water we had in Kentucky, Shoe Sensation, the Sunfire, the moving back & forth & all around, the sometimes not having all of the utilities turned on at the same time, my mom working 2 & sometimes 3 jobs, the fucking hip surgeries I had to have as a child at Shriner’s Hospital in Lexington, the ex husband, Norfolk Southern… alllllll that got me here. To Clinton, Emma, Lindsey, & Karren. To Florida, to sunshine, & the ocean. To flying the friendly skies. To doing exactly what I want to do in life & doing it exactly on my terms.

– Autumn

** Petition to get Clinton to finally break & allow me to name our next 2 dogs “Kentucky” & “Carolina” coming soon.

** Cover photo is not my own, I found it on Pinterest.

One thought on ““Kentucky…But with Carolina tendencies”

  1. I personally say petition not granted, but you have also gotten me to cave on a lot of things, so there may be hope, but I doubt it, but this post was absolutely beautifully written♥️


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