I am an Appa-latch-an.
When John F. Kennedy came to Welch, WV, before his election (he called it 'Welsh') he said 'Appalachia' as "Appal-a-chia" and it has been so for most people ever since. But it has 'latch' in it for me.
I grew up in those mountains for 18 years, until I went to Morgantown for college. Morgantown was much more like Pennsylvania than West Virginia. Then I left for two years at Harvard (not Appalachia no matter how you pronounce it) and then back to Morgantown for a few years before Alexandria, VA and then back to Charleston, WV for 5 years. By that time I was married to Bern with two children and I was 30 years old and we moved to Connecticut--first to New Haven and then to Cheshire, were we've been ever since.
So, by all accounts, given Harvard and the rest, I've lived in New England more of my life than in West Virginia.
And yet, in spite of that, I am an Appalachian. With a 'latch' in the pronunciation.
I have coal dust in my veins. And after nearly 40 years in New England I still have an accent no one can place.
Today we had more Cox employees in our house than you even want. They were here to make our phones and TV ready for the future. And they did, I think, though the phones won't work until tomorrow.
Two of them--a black guy and a white guy with paper booties on their feet (the other guy didn't wear booties and the two TV guys were horrified) asked me about my ethnicity. What an odd question. I told them every drop of my blood was from the British Isles via 40% from Scandinavia 500 years ago. They both agreed I had a British Isles accent.
What I have is a Scots/Irish accent from the mountains of West Virginia.
Amazing that they caught it after more than my life in New England.
A mountain boy is a mountain boy no matter what, I suppose.
A black guy and a, probably, Eastern European guy, heard Irish in my accent.
God love those mountains where accents got frozen.
All bull-s***, I know, but worth pondering, at any rate.
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